Rescue Personnel from Riverside County to Join Ops in Fire-Ravaged Maui

City News Service

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 Thursday.

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.

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