Hawaii’s attorney general has announced an investigation into the decisions made before and during the wildfires that ravaged the island of Maui last week, killing at least 80 people and destroying thousands of homes.
Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement on Monday that her office will examine whether there was any negligence, misconduct, or violation of law by any public or private entity involved in the prevention, preparedness, and response to the fires.
She said the investigation will also look into the adequacy of the warning systems, evacuation plans, and communication protocols that were in place during the disaster.
Governor Josh Green has also authorized a review of the emergency response by the state and county agencies, as well as by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has been providing assistance to the survivors.
Green said he wants to know if there were any gaps or failures in the coordination and cooperation among the different levels of government, and if there were any lessons learned from previous wildfires in Hawaii and elsewhere.
“We need to find out what worked and what didn’t work, and how we can improve our readiness and resilience for future disasters,” Green said. “We owe it to our people to do better.”
The wildfires, which broke out on August 8, were fueled by strong winds and dry conditions caused by a distant hurricane. They burned through more than 2,000 acres of land and damaged or destroyed more than 2,200 structures, mostly homes.
The fires also devastated the historic town of Lahaina, which dates back to the 1700s and is a popular tourist destination.
The fires are still burning in some areas, but firefighters have managed to contain most of them. The recovery efforts are expected to take years and cost billions of dollars.Hawaii’s attorney general launches investigation into Maui wildfires