Some Lahaina residents returned to their devastated properties Monday for the first time since the Hawaii town was destroyed by wildfire nearly seven weeks ago.
Authorities allowed residents into the first area to be cleared for reentry — a zone of about two dozen parcels in the northern part of Lahaina — between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The Aug. 8 wildfire killed at least 97 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of them homes. Officials urged residents not to sift through the ashes for fear of raising toxic dust.
The prospect of returning has stirred strong emotions in residents who fled in vehicles or on foot as the wind-whipped flames raced across Lahaina, the historic capital of the former Hawaiian kingdom, and overcame people stuck in traffic trying to escape. Some survivors jumped over a sea wall and sheltered in the waves as hot black smoke blotted out the sun.