Nov 28, 2023 - Science

Hawai'i's AG subpoenaes Maui agencies over deadly wildfire

The Ganer family on Aug. 11 look through the ashes of their family's home in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Hawai'i's attorney general has announced subpoenas for three Maui agencies this week as part of an investigation into the catastrophic wildfires that reaped through the island in August.

The big picture: The move comes as the island reels from the deadliest wildfires in the U.S. in over a century, which killed at least 97 people, destroyed thousands of acres and caused more than $5.5 billion in damage.

Driving the news: Subpoenas were served to the Maui Emergency Management Agency, the County of Maui Department of Public Works and the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, Attorney General Anne Lopez said.

  • Officials are investigating "critical facts," which are still needed for a comprehensive analysis on how the fire unfolded, Lopez said in a statement Monday.

Of note: The agencies have faced criticism over how they handled the fires.

  • Maui Emergency Management Agency's top official, who resigned amid the response, defended the agency's decision at the time not to sound warning sirens when asked whether it would've saved lives.

What they're saying: ""I remain personally invested in representing the truth, ensuring a comprehensive, independent investigation and communicating throughout this process," Lopez said.

  • "Our communities expect and deserve a safer Hawaiʻi."
  • The three agencies did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper:

Go deeper