Maui wildfire death toll, Highest in Modern U.S. history, could surge

The windswept wildfires that scorched Maui last week were the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Authorities now fear that the death toll will only rise in the days and weeks to come, intensifying the pain of islanders already scarred by catastrophe.

At least 111 people have been confirmed dead, and officials say an estimated 1,000 more could still be unaccounted for, further complicating the arduous process of locating deceased victims and confirming their identities.

“This is unprecedented,” Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said at a news conference Wednesday. “No one has ever seen this that is alive today. Not this size, not this number, not this volume — and we’re not done.”