Hawaii Governor Josh Green said Monday evening that the death toll from the deadly Maui wildfires has risen to 99, and may double in the next week, as 1,000 people remain missing.

‘We are prepared for many tragic stories. They will find 10 to 20 people per day, probably, until they finish. And it’s probably going to take 10 days. It’s impossible to guess, really,’ Green said Monday on CBS.

In terms of the ultimate death toll, he said, ‘I don’t want to guess at the number.’

Firefighters in Maui continue to work around the clock to contain the fire that is now officially the deadliest in modern US history, as other inspectors and cadaver dogs continue to probe the ashen town of Lahaina.

The harsh conditions have made search and recovery difficult and recovery teams have only covered approximately 3 percent of the search area, they are expected to continue their efforts this week. 

Hawaii Governor Josh Green said search teams 'will find 10 to 20 people per day probably until they finish' the finish the searches, which take around 10 days

Hawaii Governor Josh Green said search teams 'will find 10 to 20 people per day probably until they finish' the finish the searches, which take around 10 days

Hawaii Governor Josh Green said search teams ‘will find 10 to 20 people per day probably until they finish’ the finish the searches, which take around 10 days

Flames from a wildfire burn in Kihei, Hawaii Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023

Flames from a wildfire burn in Kihei, Hawaii Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023

Flames from a wildfire burn in Kihei, Hawaii Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023

Green told CNN this afternoon that most of the first 80 confirmed deaths were found in and around cars on Front Street or in the shallow nearby waters.

Green said that hundreds of unaccounted for people still haven’t ‘checked in’ but noted that there are still communication problems on the island and many people who fled may have lost their phones in the process.

Many of the remains are so badly burned that families have been invited to provide DNA swabs which could help identify the victims. Authorities have created the Maui County Family Assistance Center to help collect samples.

‘There are more fatalities that will come,’ Green told CBS on Sunday. ‘The fire was so hot that what we find is the tragic finding that you would imagine… It’s hard to recognize anybody. But they’re able to determine if someone did perish.’

Green, a doctor who has been treating survivors, said he’d been into Lahaina twice and ‘there’s nothing to see except full devastation’.

‘The buildings are almost nonexistent. It was so hot that even metal contorted so that you can’t believe what the building was.

‘But that’s what you see, and obviously there will not be any survivors in the area left. They’ve either escaped and escaped that night and now as we put up some temporary cell capacity, people are calling each other.

‘Look, our hearts will break, beyond repair perhaps, if that means that many more dead. None of us think that, but we are prepared for many tragic stories.

‘They will find 10 to 20 people per day probably until they finish. And it’s probably going to take ten days. It’s impossible to guess really.’

Authorities have not published an official missing persons list but a Maui resident, Ellie Erickson, has created an online spreadsheet which currently lists about 1,200 names as ‘not located’.

About 4,000 more names on the spreadsheet are listed as ‘found.’

Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, right, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell look at a destroyed building along Front Street during a tour of wildfire damage on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, right, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell look at a destroyed building along Front Street during a tour of wildfire damage on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, right, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell look at a destroyed building along Front Street during a tour of wildfire damage on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023

The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023

The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023

Penny Wakida, a Lahaina resident, said her husband of 46 years, Clyde, died after remaining at the home they built together 35 years ago in a desperate bid to save it. She was contacted by officials to say they found human remains on the property, the Honlulu Star Advertiser reported.

Penny’s daughter, Lexa Hanohano, and Clyde’s sisters, Avis Wakida and Teri Young, are among people who have provided DNA samples to help with the identification of remains.

‘He didn’t want to evacuate,’ said Penny. ‘He refused to come with me. He thought he could save the house. We know he’s dead.’

Twenty cadaver dogs and dozens of searchers are currently making their way through blocks in Lahaina which have been reduced to ash.

‘Right now, they’re going street by street, block by block between cars, and soon they’ll start to enter buildings,’ Jeff Hickman, director of public affairs for the Hawaii Department of Defense, told NBC on Monday.

The blaze that swept into centuries-old Lahaina nearly a week ago destroyed nearly every building in the town of 13,000, leaving a grid of gray rubble wedged between the blue ocean and lush green slopes.

That fire has been 85 percent contained, according to the county. Another blaze known as the Upcountry fire has been 60 percent contained, officials said.

Twenty cadaver dogs and dozens of searchers are currently making their way through blocks reduced to ash. A member of the search and rescue team walks with her cadaver dog near Front Street on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

Twenty cadaver dogs and dozens of searchers are currently making their way through blocks reduced to ash. A member of the search and rescue team walks with her cadaver dog near Front Street on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

Twenty cadaver dogs and dozens of searchers are currently making their way through blocks reduced to ash. A member of the search and rescue team walks with her cadaver dog near Front Street on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Lahaina

Green said he was frustrated following reports the Maui’s emergency warning system, including sirens and mobile phone alerts, allegedly did not give residents enough notice that fires were rapidly engulfing Lahaina.

‘We’re heartbroken that people couldn’t get out or didn’t get alerted. We’re doing a review already. My attorney general, I asked her to do it. Not to find fault in anyone but to say why this worked and this didn’t work,’ he said.

‘It is definitely a natural disaster because the winds were moving — any fire between 60 and 80 miles per hour. That’s a mile a minute.’

He said the speed and ferocity of the fires meant ‘moving people out’ had been the best hope of preventing deaths.

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