Before-and-after satellite images of Maui fire devastation

Wildfires racing across part of Maui have ravaged sections of a historic town on the island, claiming the lives of at least 55 people.

Some were forced to flee to the relative safety of the ocean where the Coast Guard rescued them. The fires forced evacuations in some areas, including the popular tourist spot of Lahaina. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Dora, which is passing south of the island chain at a safe distance, was partly to blame for strong winds driving the flames, knocking out power and grounding firefighting helicopters.

SEE ALSO: How to help those affected by Maui wildfires

Maxar Technologies captured before-and-after satellite images showing the devastation in Lahaina on Wednesday. 

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Seen in this photo is the southern portion of Lahaina, where many homes, buildings and structures have been destroyed by wildfires. The image was captured on June 25, 2023. 

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke shared aerial footage of the wildfire devastation of Lahaina and nearby Kihei. Luke said the images were "incredibly sobering and heartbreaking" to see.

"My heart hurts for the lives lost and the loved ones they leave behind," she said on Facebook. "We are working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of every person affected. While our beloved Lahaina is forever changed, the love and aloha of the community is steadfast."