This piece was first published on August 14 on

Rebuilding after wildfires on the island of Maui in Hawaii could cost more than $5.5 billion, according to a preliminary assessment prepared by the University of Hawaii Pacific Disaster Center and local officials. 

The largest of the fires, in historic Lahaina, burned an estimated 2,170 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 2,200 structures in the city of about 13,000 that was once capital of the Hawaiian kingdom in the early 19th century, according to the university assessment. It estimated the cost of rebuilding from that fire alone at $5.52 billion. Most impacted buildings—about 86 percent—are residential, with 9 percent classified as commercial, according to the assessment. 

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