Only a few of the remains that have been recovered are identifiable, officials have said.

Maui County identified two of the victims of wildfires that consumed a historic town as the death toll rose to 106.

Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79 — both of Lahaina — were confirmed to have died in the blaze that began a week ago Tuesday.

The names were released after the men’s family members were notified, according to a statement from the county and the police department. It said three other people had been identified but the names were being withheld until notification of next of kin.

Search dogs accompanied their handlers to search for remains in the rubble of fire-hit Lahaina. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

The fact that so few victims are identifiable is grim testament to the vast damage from the rapidly spreading wildfires. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition.

So far, 106 human remains have been recovered with at least 32% of the scorched area searched, according to the county.

Some families aren’t waiting for official confirmation and have used social media to identify their missing loved ones as dead.

The search effort has speeded up after federal forensics experts, specially trained cadaver-detection dogs and other assistance arrived to help overwhelmed local first responders.

Crews have moved through the ash-covered rubble with caution to avoid disturbing bone fragments and other remains that may be mingled with the debris.

With hundreds of people still unaccounted for, county officials have asked people with missing loved ones to provide DNA samples to help with the identification process.

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier defended the slow process on Monday, saying that names would be publicized only after families had been notified.

Tuesday’s statement also called for patience, saying the police department and others have been “working tirelessly to ensure that proper protocols are followed.”

“The County of Maui’s priority is to handle this situation with the utmost sensitivity and respect for those who are grieving,” it said.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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