Hawaii officials said Friday that they had identified the last of the 100 known victims of the wildfire that destroyed Lahaina in August.

The victim was Lydia Coloma, 70, Maui police said.

Identifying those who perished in the deadliest wildfire in the US in more than a century has been a long, arduous process. Forensic experts and cadaver dogs have had to sift through ash searching for bodies that had possibly been cremated, and authorities have been collecting DNA samples from victims’ family members.

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.

The number of those who remain unaccounted for has also fallen, to only a few, from a previous high of nearly 400, according to the Maui police department.

The victims ranged in age from 7 to 97, but more than two-thirds were in their 60s or older, according to Maui police’s list of known victims. Several were residents of a lower-income apartment complex for older adults.

Authorities reopened the burn zone to residents and property owners who had lost homes while urging returning residents not to sift through the ashes for fear of raising toxic dust.

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

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

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It may have been sparked by downed power lines that ignited dry, invasive grasses. An AP investigation found that the answer may lie in an overgrown gully beneath Hawaiian Electric Co power lines and something that harbored smoldering embers from an initial fire that burned in the morning and then rekindled in high winds that afternoon.

The blaze destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of them homes, and is estimated to have caused $5.5bn in damage.

Nearly six months after the blaze, 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 costly for many after rebuilding.

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