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Tags: hawaii | maui | probe | wildfires | response | anne lopez | transparency

Hawaii AG Announces Independent Probe Into Wildfires

By    |   Thursday, 17 August 2023 08:09 PM EDT

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Thursday that an "impartial and independent review" into responses from the state and county to the wildfires that ravaged western Maui and have killed more than 100 people so far will be launched.

Lopez said she was asked by Gov. Josh Green to conduct the review.

Lopez didn't announce which private organization would lead the review or when it would start, only that she expected it to take several months.

"Having a third-party conduct the review will ensure accountability and transparency and reassure the people of Hawaii that all of the facts will be uncovered," Lopez said in a statement.

"The information collected will be used to assess the performance in emergency preparedness as we are constantly looking for ways to improve. We intend to look at this critical incident to facilitate any necessary corrective action and to advance future emergency preparedness.

"We will be taking the necessary time to follow the facts wherever they lead."

Lopez said she plans to engage an entity with experience in emergency management and processes.

One focal point of the review is most likely to be the decision by Maui's Emergency Management Agency not to sound the island's network of 80 sirens to warn residents about the fires.

"The sirens are used primarily for tsunamis. The public is trained to seek higher ground in the event that the siren is sounded," agency chief Herman Andaya told reporters Wednesday. "Had we sounded the siren that night, we're afraid that people would have gone mauka [inland]. And if that was the case, they would've gone into the fire."

Andaya said he harbored no regrets about not sounding the sirens.

The death toll stood at 111, as of Thursday, with the governor warning of scores more. FEMA estimates damages north of $5.5 billion.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is also ongoing.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are planning to visit Monday to survey the damage at Lahaina. Joe Biden was the subject of criticism last weekend with a "no comment" when asked about the mounting death toll on Maui while he was vacationing at Rehoboth, Delaware.

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Thursday that an "impartial and independent review" into responses from the state and county to the wildfires that ravaged western Maui and have killed more than 100 people so far will be launched.
hawaii, maui, probe, wildfires, response, anne lopez, transparency, fema
362
2023-09-17
Thursday, 17 August 2023 08:09 PM
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