Hawaii lawmakers are calling on the state to use an independent investigator to investigate wildfires


Nine Hawaii senators plan to ask the state’s attorney general to appoint an independent, third-party investigator to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the past week devastating forest firesThat destroyed Maui and killed dozens of people.

“We hope that this investigation will reveal the causes of this disaster and point to actions that need to be taken to prevent future tragedies,” Democratic Senator Jarrett Keohokaloli said in an email on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Keohokalul said the senators plan to make their request in a letter scheduled for release Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning local time.

Attorney General Ann Lopez has already said her office will Carry out a comprehensive review permanent decision-making and policies” before and during wildfires. Lopez said in a statement Friday that her office intends to share the results of the review with the public.

In an aerial view, two men ride a motorcycle by businesses that were destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dozens have been killed and thousands displaced after a windswept wildfire ripped through the town of Lahaina on Tuesday. Crews continue to search for the missing. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“While we continue to support all aspects of the ongoing relief effort, now is the time to begin that process of understanding,” Lopez said.

Officials are investigating the exact causes of the wildfires that swept through Maui and set the historic seaside town of Lahaina ablaze. Four lawsuits A lawsuit has been filed against the state’s largest power utility, Hawaii Electric, in part arguing that the electricity should have been cut before high winds swept through the area.

Governor Josh Green, the state’s first-time Democratic governor, confirmed to reporters Tuesday that the brutal fires in Maui have killed at least 101 people. “We are very saddened that we have suffered such a loss,” he told a news conference.

The fires in Maui were the deadliest in the United States in 100 years, surpassing the death toll of the Camp Fire in Northern California in 2018, which killed 85 people.

The Hawaii Senate is made up of 25 elected members. Keohokalole is the assistant to the majority whip.

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