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HWMO's Know Fire Classroom Wildfire Curriculum and Waikoloa Wildfire Safety Park and Demonstration Garden Curriculum
are now up and downloadable on our Prevention and Resources pages so you can teach the curriculum to your own class or children!
Find out what the students are saying about our program!
Have a Fire Safe Holiday!
Learn how to decorate your home for the holidays in a fire safe manner, without compromising the fun of it all!
Know What to Do to Protect Your Home and Family from Wildfire:
Be prepared well in advance of a wildfire event.
1. Harden Your Home
2. Create Defensible Space
3. Plant Native and Drought-Tolerant Species
Be aware of fire-prone conditions and of encroaching wildfires.
Make the appropriate preparations inside and outside your home to minimize
Evacuate early and follow a pre-determined action plan.
***Do not wait until the last minute!***
Doing so puts you, your family, and emergency responders at risk!
Leave with the peace of knowing your home is prepared and protected.
When: December 5th, 2013
& Banjy's Keiki Festival
When: Saturday, Dec. 7th, 2013
Where: Banjy's Paradise
Bar & Grill
Heard Around Hawaii
Big Island Brush Fire Contained 11/26/13
"State firefighters have contained a wildfire that burned nearly 600 acres on the Big Island. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Tuesday the grassland fire in the Puu Anahulu Game Management Area was fully contained by noon." - Hawaii News Now
Large Brush Fire Still Smoldering in Schofield Barracks 10/23/13
"U.S. Army Wildland fire crews, the Honolulu Fire Department and crews from the marines battled a brush fire at a training range on Schofield Barracks Wednesday. The fire started Tuesday due to the rekindling of a fire in the same area that began October 15. The original blaze was 100 percent contained Sunday evening with no visible smoke or hot spots, the military said." - Hawaii News Now
Second Wildfire Discovered Near Keanakolu 10/9/13
"State fire crews working this weekend to mop-up a fire in a remote section of the Hilo Forest Reserve near Keanakolu found another small fire below a fenced unit on the Humuula Trail. The combined size of both fires is 3 acres. However, because the grass was green in the new area there was not a clean burn. As it dries out, it is re-igniting and burning, due to the high organic content in the soil." - KPUA
Fire Regime: Native Plants Help Fire-proof Vulnerable Park Ecosystems 9/13/2013
“National Park visitors are often familiar with fire’s beneficial role in maintaining ecosystem health. Many national parks routinely burn vegetation and allow some lightning fires to burn in remote areas—if they benefit the resources. Unfortunately, wildfires at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, where native biodiversity is shrinking, have become a threat to native ecosystems. Invasion and colonization of alien tropical and sub-tropical grasses, coinciding with the ongoing eruptions of Kilauea Volcano, have caused fire frequency rates to triple since historic levels and average fire size to increase 60-fold.” - Tim Tunison, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Heard Around the Globe
Firefighters Battle Unusual Winter Wildfire in Northern California 11/23/2013
Unusually drier conditions coupled with strong offshore winds are extending the fire season in California. This is a trend that extends to many other areas globally, as well. “'This year in California we saw very little rainfall early in the season and that’s allowed this year to be a very prolonged fire season and unfortunately until we get a good amount of rainfall we will remain susceptible to wildfires..." - NBC News
Vets-Turned-Firefighters Find Brotherhood, Purpose 11/11/2013
"Finding jobs for veterans is already a tough task; finding meaningful jobs for them is even tougher. Fortunately, many vets are turning to firefighting to give them "a sense of camaraderie and purpose they miss." 'Battalion Chief Richard Hess says many of the veterans really needed the job. "Some of them were having difficulty having jobs just like everybody else in this economy," he says. "Some of them had ... started working in careers that really weren't up to the expectation they had for ... what they want to do with their life."' 'As a department, we're just happy to get a good quality group of guys," he says. "At the same time, it's rewarding on our end to provide them a chance for a good occupation after what they've done for us."' - NPR
Wildfire Science Returns to Rim Fire 11/07/2013
"Although dousing the flames was foremost in people's minds during the recent Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, U.S. Geological Survey scientific work continues well after the fire is out. USGS scientists are continuing their critical research characterizing the hidden dangers faced after large wildfires." - USGS
New South Wales Communities Band Together After Bushfire Disasters 10/20/2013
"Severe bushfires have destroyed more than 200 properties and damaged 37,000 hectares of land in New South Wales since Thursday. Whilst dozens of people have lost their homes, many others are reaching out to those affected, as well as emergency services currently working against the blazes. Charity organisations, local businesses, wildlife rescue teams and members of the community are among those who have shown their support." - ABC Australia
Researchers design satellite to detect wildfires — a step toward the Holy Grail of Firefighter Safety? 10/25/2013
This new satellite technology will change the game for firefighting: "This proposed satellite, called FUEGO – Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit, would survey the entire western United States every two minutes or less and could detect a fire that is about 10 feet in diameter. Assuming that the data from the satellite could be transmitted to the appropriate dispatch center within a minute or two, this could be a major step toward keeping fires small… IF the fire agencies have the appropriate initial attack policies in place and an adequate number of firefighting resources, both ground and air-based, to respond and arrive at the fire within the first 10 to 30 minutes." - Wildfire Today
Australia bush fire crisis eases, but firefighters warn fight isn't over 10/25/2013
"Aggressive firefighter and high-risk strategies" proving successful for fighting bush fires in Australia. Cooperation from local communities has also helped the cause. "A combination of high winds and temperatures Wednesday had fueled fears the bush fires burning across a 1,000-mile stretch of New South Wales would spread even farther. But thanks to fire crews' "extraordinary" work, helped out by some unexpected light rain overnight, the worst of the danger has been avoided, said Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. He praised firefighters for their skill and use of "aggressive and high-risk strategies" that included "backburning" operations -- fires begun by emergency crews to reduce potential tinder for the wildfires to feed on -- and thanked local communities for following instructions to keep them safe." - CNN
Federal researchers developing scale for wildfire similar to those used for quakes, tornadoes 9/24/2013
"Federal researchers have been working on a system to measure and predict the destructiveness of wildfires — similar to the way officials use the magnitude scale for earthquakes and other tools to rate and evaluate tornadoes and hurricanes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology hopes its Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Scale will tell residents the likely intensity of a wildfire burning into their neighborhood. The scale would allow city planners to assign better building codes for the millions of people who live in fire-prone areas in the West and would also measure how those homes could contribute to the spread of a fire." - Washington Post
Into the wildfire: what science is learning about fire and how to live with it 9/19/2013
Incredible article put out by the New York Times putting fire science in a publicly-accessible format and stunning pictures and moving graphics. A must read! "By suppressing fires ... we’re saving the landscape for the worst conditions,’ a fire researcher says. ‘We need to choose good fire over bad fire, and if we understand spread we can make better choices." "Fire has always been a part of the natural ecology — many plant species evolved in direct response to it and couldn’t survive without it; when the sap of some pine cones melts, for example, seeds are released. But the reflexive practice of putting out all fires, which has dominated national policy for so many decades, has turned much of the American West into a tinderbox." - New York Times
HWMO Recent Events
Waikoloa Parade & Banjy's Keiki Festival 12/07/2013
As another example of HWMO's strengthening partnerships, we connected with DOFAW's Smokey the Bear for this year's Waikoloa Parade and Banjy's Keiki Festival. A full day begun with Smokey marching along the parade route, only to fall behind due to the constant inflow of fan photo-ops. Not only kids, but adults were just as happy to take photos with Smokey, who in turn reminded all that "only YOU can prevent forest fires." The fanfare continued into the Banjy's restaurant at the Keiki Festival's Craft Fair. Pablo Beimler, Education and Outreach Coordinator for HWMO, set up a booth with all of our outreach materials, including new Firewise brochures and HWMO overview flyers and a brand new poster-board layout. Dozens of keiki stopped by the booth to collect Smokey gear and a great deal of adults received brief lessons about fire safety and the newest updates from HWMO and PFX. All in all, another successful, exciting outreach day, thanks much in part to Smokey's generosity!
Ocean Warriors Fire Lesson 10/30/2013
HWMO collaborated with the Ocean Warriors program for a Fire Day in Waikoloa. Elizabeth Pickett and Pablo Beimler met with Tom Loomis and Maja Sommerfeld from Ocean Warriors to give a lesson on fire ecology and issues relevant to the Waikoloa region. Wildfire issues in Waikoloa are some of the most rampant on the island and are tied into ocean issues due to post-fire erosion and runoff events. The middle school students also enjoyed an informative guest lecture by Jen Lawson of one of HWMO's many local partner organizations: Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. Jen touched on the importance of restoring native dryland forest vegetation to help combat the vicious fire cycle that has severely reduced the populations and chances for the repopulation of native dryland species. As part of the concluding events to help the students visualize the fire cycle, we put on a game of "fire tag" which the energized kids thoroughly enjoyed.
Kona Fire Prevention Week 10/26/2013
Once a year, the entire HWMO team gathers together for an outreach event. Saturday, October 26th, 2013, was that day, which was Fire Prevention Week in Kona at the Wal-Mart parking lot. By showing up in full force, we were able to reach out to a great number and variety of visiting families, ranging from local to mainlanders to even those from Japan. We gave out a stack of "Ready, Set, Go" brochures, among other important fire safety guides; And, of course, the kids walked home with a collection of our Smokey goods. Some great events occurred throughout the day including a simulation put on by HFD firefighters demonstrating a live-action Jaws of Life "rescue," which kept the crowd on their toes. Afterwards, the annual Bucket Brigade Competition was held, featuring 16 teams of all ages and backgrounds. HWMO happened to be one of those teams, and we ended up landing a 5th place finish. Our team was as cohesive and fluid as ever, but we fell short to those who know how to put out fires best: HFD and their staff.
Parker School Presentation and Workshop 10/25/2013
The HWMO team traveled down the road from our office to Parker School for a "Make A Difference Day" event. Our Board Treasurer, Carolyn Stewart, and Executive Director, Elizabeth Pickett, teamed up to give presentations to a class of high school students regarding watershed and fire issues, respectively. Afterwards, even given a long day of field work the students endured, the students were enthusiastic enough to join us for an outdoor activity. Pablo Beimler and Tom Loomis set up diaramas that demonstrated direct/indirect point source pollution. We had students simulate pollution events ranging from leaky septic tanks to agricultural runoff to post-fire erosion. The students not only learned a great deal in such a short period of time, they had quite a blast pouring cocoa powder and Kool-aid ("pollutants") into the model and watching the unfortunate aftermath. If only it were as easy to start our watersheds from scratch the way we did by simply pouring the "pollutants" out of the "sea" and giving the diaramas a nice rinse.
Hilo Fire Prevention Week 10/4/2013
HWMO's Pablo Beimler set up a booth representing HWMO and PFX down in Hilo for this year's Fire Prevention Week. The theme for the event, "Prevent Kitchen Fires," did not go unnoticed, as local firefighters helped kids put out demonstration stove fires with fire extinguishers. Other exciting demonstrations included a "Jaws of Life" car rescue and a helicopter rescue right there on the shore of Bayfront Park. Although it rained throughout the day, a few hundred people (mostly families with their kids) made it out to the event. We passed out a number of "Ready, Set, Go" preparedness guides, NFPA pamphlets, and a great deal of Smokey the Bear gear. We also spoke to a few fire fighters about the Pacific Fire Exchange, which they took great interest in. All in all, another successful event that left the kids more aware about fire safety and with a smile on their face.
Wiliwili Festival 9/14/2013
HWMO’s newest addition to the organization, Pablo Beimler, and Nalani Ludwig spent the day at the Waikoloa School handing out information regarding fire awareness to community members. The event, hosted by the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative (WDFI), attracted a couple hundred people who took interest in the important mission of saving our rare Dryland Forests! Wildfire is one of the biggest threats to the dry forest, and WDFI is an important HWMO partner.