Hawaii wildfires death toll reaches 100 as officials identify the last known victim of horrifying blaze that tore through Lahaina as 70-year-old woman who lost eight other family members in the inferno

The Hawaii wildfire death toll reached 100 as officials identified the last known victim of the horrific blaze that tore through Lahaina as a 70-year-old woman who lost eight other family members in the inferno.

Lydia Coloma was identified on Friday as the last of the 100 known victims of the a wildfire that destroyed Maui’s historic town of Lahaina in August, as she also lost her husband, sister, brother-in-law and other family members.

Maui police said they identified her based on the context of where the remains were found, rather than through DNA or other positive identification methods since her remains were severely damaged.

“She’s a mother, a wife, a respected community member,” Maui Police Officer Steven Landsiedel said in an interview with CNN.

Lydia Coloma was identified Friday as the last of the 100 known victims of the wildfire that destroyed Maui's historic town of Lahaina in August, as she also lost eight family members in the inferno.

Lydia Coloma was identified Friday as the last of the 100 known victims of the wildfire that destroyed Maui’s historic town of Lahaina in August, as she also lost eight family members in the inferno.

Tina Acosta, Coloma's sister-in-law, said the family is from the Ilocos Sur province in the Philippines.

Tina Acosta, Coloma’s sister-in-law, said the family is from the Ilocos Sur province in the Philippines.

Hawaii wildfire death toll reaches 100 as officials identify last known victim of horrific blaze that tore through Lahaina

Hawaii wildfire death toll reaches 100 as officials identify last known victim of horrific blaze that tore through Lahaina

Coloma worked at Foodland Lahaina, a local grocery store, and her husband, Salvador, worked at PWC Hawaii, a beauty services company.

Tina Acosta, Coloma’s sister-in-law, said the family is from the Ilocos Sur province in the Philippines.

“We waited,” she said, adding that she did not know why the final identification took so long.

Identifying those who died in the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century has been a long, arduous process.

Forensic experts and more than 40 cadaver dogs sifted through the area looking for bodies that may have been cremated, and authorities collected DNA samples from victims’ relatives.

The DNA testing allowed officials in September to revise the death toll downward, from 115 to at least 97. The toll rose slightly over the next month as some victims succumbed to their injuries or as police found additional remains.

Identifying those who died in the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century has been a long, arduous process

Identifying those who died in the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century has been a long, arduous process

Forensic experts and more than 40 cadaver dogs sifted through bodies looking for bodies that may have been cremated, and authorities collected DNA samples from victims' relatives

Forensic experts and more than 40 cadaver dogs sifted through bodies looking for bodies that may have been cremated, and authorities collected DNA samples from victims’ relatives

The DNA testing allowed officials in September to revise the death toll downwards, from 115 to at least 97. The toll rose slightly over the next month as some victims succumbed to their injuries or as police found additional remains

The DNA testing allowed officials in September to revise the death toll downwards, from 115 to at least 97. The toll rose slightly over the next month as some victims succumbed to their injuries or as police found additional remains

According to the Maui Police Department, the number of people unaccounted for has also dropped — down to just a few from a previous high of nearly 400.

Coloma was removed from the missing persons list by Maui police following her official identification as a victim.

Now three people remain on the list, including Paul Kasprzycki, 76; Robert Owens, 65; and Elmer Lee Stevens, 73, according to MPD’s credible list of missing individuals.

Last fall, authorities began reopening the fire zone to residents and property owners who lost homes, while urging returning residents not to sift through the ash for fear of rising toxic dust.

This month, crews began clearing debris from residential lots. The waste is wrapped in thick industrial plastic before the Army Corps of Engineers takes it to a temporary storage site south of Lahaina.

The disaster devastated Maui and Hawaii more widely. Caught in a hellscape, some residents died in their cars, while others jumped into the sea or tried to run for safety.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It may have been fueled by downed power lines that ignited dry, invasive grasses.

An aerial view of Lahaina after wildfires burned through the town on the Hawaiian island of Maui on August 10

An aerial view of Lahaina after wildfires burned through the town on the Hawaiian island of Maui on August 10

An aerial photo shows the historic Banyan tree along with destroyed homes, boats and buildings burned to the ground in the historic town of Lahaina in the wake of wildfires in West Maui, Hawaii, on August 10

An aerial photo shows the historic Banyan tree along with destroyed homes, boats and buildings burned to the ground in the historic town of Lahaina in the wake of wildfires in West Maui, Hawaii, on August 10

An afternoon nap investigation found it could be caused by an overgrown gully under Hawaiian Electric Co. power lines and something that harbored smoldering embers from an initial fire that burned in the morning and then reignited in high winds in the afternoon.

Some scientists have introduced laboratory models that show the wildfire was actually fueled by the same meteorological phenomenon responsible for California’s most damaging wildfires — a downslope windstorm.

Atmospheric researchers simulated the weather and fire trends in west Maui on August 8 to gain a better understanding of what made the Lahaina fire so destructive.

Cliff Mass, a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences who simulated the Maui event, said the combination of flammable fuels, strong winds and an ignition source is a recurring recipe for destructive fires.

“There’s a real story for Californians here because what happened in Maui, what happened in the Marshall fire, what happened at Paradise … they’re all the same thing,” Mass told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The fire destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of them homes, and caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damage.

Nearly six months after the fire, about 5,000 displaced residents were still living in hotels or other short-term accommodations around Maui.

Economists have warned that without zoning and other changes, housing costs in already expensive Lahaina could be prohibitively expensive for many after rebuilding.