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Photos: Survivors begin recovery efforts in Maui fires aftermath

Photos: Survivors begin recovery efforts in Maui fires aftermath

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The death toll is expected to climb after officials in Hawaii confirmed Friday at least 55 people were killed in wildfires that started Tuesday night, forced thousands to evacuate and scorched hundreds of homes across Maui this week.

Bay Area residents who escaped the wind-whipped infernos recounted their harrowing experience as a hurricane passing hundreds of miles south of the island sent gusts between 60 to 80 miles per hour toward them. Officials in hardest-hit Lahaina meanwhile said at least 1,000 more victims are still missing.

The conflagrations on Hawaii’s second largest island, which is about 735 square miles large, have burned more than 20 square miles and razed 1,700 buildings as firefighters continue working to contain them. Preliminary damage estimates from Accuweather range from $8 billion to $10 billion.

Maui’s fires are the deadliest event in Hawaii’s history since a tsunami in May 1960, which killed 61 people. They are also the deadliest U.S. wildfires since the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed at least 85 people.

Homes and businesses are seen that were destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dozens of people were killed and thousands were displaced after a wind-driven wildfire devastated the town of Lahaina on Tuesday. Crews are continuing to search for missing people. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 
Myrna Ah Hee reacts as she waits in front of an evacuation center at the War Memorial Gymnasium, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Wailuku, Hawaii. The Ah Hees were there because they were looking for her husband’s brother. Their own home in Lahaina was spared, but the homes of many of their relatives were destroyed by wildfires. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) 
A man walks through wildfire wreckage Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Hawaii emergency management records show no indication that warning sirens sounded before people ran for their lives from wildfires on Maui that wiped out a historic town. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) 
Homes and businesses are seen that were destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dozens of people were killed and thousands were displaced after a wind-driven wildfire devastated the town of Lahaina on Tuesday. Crews are continuing to search for missing people. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 
In this photo released by the County of Maui, Hawaii Governor Josh Green, left, and Mayor Richard Bissen walk past the burned remains along Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. Authorities in Hawaii are working to evacuate people from Maui as firefighters work to contain wildfires and put out flare-ups. The County of Maui says that 14,900 visitors left Maui by air on Thursday. (County of Maui via AP) 
Wildfire wreckage is shown Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Hawaii emergency management records show no indication that warning sirens sounded before people ran for their lives from wildfires on Maui that wiped out a historic town. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) 
Homes and businesses are seen that were destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dozens of people were killed and thousands were displaced after a wind-driven wildfire devastated the town of Lahaina on Tuesday. Crews are continuing to search for missing people. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 
A wasteland of burned out homes and obliterated communities is left on Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii, following a stubborn blaze. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) 
A fire truck drives through a neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dozens of people were killed and thousands were displaced after a wind-driven wildfire devastated the town of Lahaina on Tuesday. Crews are continuing to search for missing people. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)