Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said he anticipates some deaths as wildfires affect the island of Maui.
"Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We have suffered a terrible disaster in the form of a wildfire that has spread widely as a result of hurricane-force winds in the region and underlying drought conditions. Maui and the Big Island both experienced significant fires. Much of Lāhainā on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced,” said Green, who is cutting a vacation short and returning to the state immediately.
Green, who expects to be back in Hawaii later tonight, said he intends to submit a disaster declaration request to President Joe Biden once a preliminary damage assessment is made, likely in the next day or two.
“Our state appreciates the incredible outpouring of concern and prayers from the mainland. We won’t forget the aloha you have already begun to share with us,” Green said.