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Maui wildfires cause more than $1.3 billion in residential property damage, according to a preliminary estimate


By Ramishah Maruf, CNN

New York (CNN) — The devastating Maui wildfires, which have killed dozens of people and displaced thousands more, has cost at least $1.3 billion in damage to 3,088 residences, according to a recent preliminary estimate from CoreLogic.

CoreLogic, a research firm that assesses property data, found that the vast majority of property damage is in Lahaina, a tourist and economic hub where at least 9,000 people live. The company expects more than 2,808 homes will need to be reconstructed, costing $1.1 billion in reconstruction cost value. Pulehu has about $147 million in damage, and Pukalani has about $4.2 million, CoreLogic forecasts.

Wildfires have raged across the Hawaiian island of Maui, killing at least 80 people. Officials expect the death toll to rise and say it could take years to fully recover. The catastrophic firestorm also destroyed countless businesses on the island, which the estimate from CoreLogic didn’t include.

According to a damage assessment from the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and FEMA on Saturday, Maui County experienced $5.52 billion in “capital exposure,” which is the estimated cost to rebuild following damage by the Lahaina Fire. Maui County has a population of about 165,000.

More than 2,200 structures were damaged or destroyed and 2,170 acres have burned as a result of the Lahaina Fire, according to the PDC and FEMA assessment.

The structure of the Lahaina properties, combined with the hurricane-force winds and deadly gusts, allowed the firestorm to decimate many of the area’s buildings.

“Many of the residential properties in Lahaina appear to have wood siding, and a number of them have elevated porches with a lattice underneath,” Thomas Jeffery, CoreLogic principal wildfire scientist, said in the findings. “Both are characteristics that make the residence very vulnerable to either ember or direct flame ignition.”

However, the full extent of the damage is still unknown. It will take “some time” to figure that out, CoreLogic emphasized. CoreLogic created preliminary wildfire perimeters for its study that could change, it said.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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