Rescue personnel from Riverside County to join ops in fire-ravaged Maui

Fire in downtown Lahaina on Maui viewed from offshore on Aug. 8, 2023. (Photo Credit: Annalise Johnson)

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Search and rescue personnel from Riverside County
will be among others statewide deploying to the Hawaiian Islands as part of the
disaster response to the wildfires that have devastated parts of Maui,
officials announced today.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he had mobilized members of Urban Search &
Rescue units from Riverside, Oakland and Sacramento counties.

“California stands with the people of Maui and all Hawaiians amid
these horrific wildfires that have claimed lives and destroyed the historic
town of Lahaina,” Newsom said. “Our state is sending resources to support our
Pacific neighbors during their time of need.”

Three dozen fatalities have been confirmed due to the fires, which
started Tuesday night and swept through the west end of Maui, according to
published reports.

Nearly 300 homes and other structures, some of them landmarks, have
been destroyed, officials said.

Maui was under a Red Flag Warning due to a ridge of high pressure
impacting the area, combined with winds gusting to 70 mph from Hurricane Dora,
roughly 1,000 miles to the south and tracking to the northwest.

The category 3 storm was losing some energy Thursday, and the high
pressure system was weakening, according to forecasters.

U.S. Coast Guard and Army National Guard troops were handling rescue
and relief operations around the island.

It was unclear how the Urban Search & Rescue team from California
would be utilized.

Members of Riverside County’s Task Force 6 have deployed to numerous
disasters over the years, including to the World Trade Center immediately after
the 9/11 attacks, to Snohomish County, Washington, in 2014 after a massive
mudslide buried homes, as well as in Houston, Texas, to assist victims of
Hurricane Harvey, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to provide assistance to first
responders after Hurricane Maria — both in the summer of 2017

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

City News Service (CNS)