WILDFIRE

Utah Task Force to play an important role in search for people on Maui

Aug 16, 2023, 6:00 AM

burnt cars and trees in maui...

Destroyed homes and cars are shown, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Hawaii officials urge tourists to avoid traveling to Maui as many hotels prepare to house evacuees and first responders on the island where a wildfire demolished a historic town and killed dozens. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Utah Task Force One’s human detection canine team is helping in the recovering efforts on Maui in the aftermath of devastating wildfires.

Chief Brian Case tells KSL NewsRadio the canine team will play a vital role in Maui.

“Of these fire-trapped individuals, it is a nearly impossible task,” he said. “. . . to locate some of these victims because unfortunately they have been so badly burned. But the task force has these amazing canines that are going to be a frontline tool in the search for these bodies at this point.”

 Case also says the search and rescue teams faces an uphill battle trying to find missing people.

“The difficulty with these fires is when they’re wind-driven,” he said. “It’s difficult for people, if they didn’t get a notice to get out. Or even if they did a notice, in many cases, these fires can move so very quickly and overcome some people.”

There are still roughly 1,000 people missing on Maui.

On Tuesday, CNN reported the death toll has risen to 101. 

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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Utah Task Force to play an important role in search for people on Maui