Firewise Communities Recognition Program
Starting in July 2015, HWMO began working with communities statewide to help them achieve Firewise Community Certification. The recognition program is part of a nationwide effort of over 1,200 (and counting) working towards a common goal: protecting the community from wildfire.
As of 2014, Kohala-By-the-Sea was the only Firewise Community statewide. Their amazing efforts have lasted over a decade...but we thought, why not go all out and shoot for at least 10 in two years?
We currently have federal funding until June 2017 to assist at least 10 communities towards achieving Firewise status. This includes a wildfire preparedness workshop, community-wide hazard assessment, application assistance, work day event co-organizing, and any other help needed, free of charge!
The benefits of becoming a recognized Firewise Community include:
1) Framework for sustained wildfire preparedness activities
2) Learning about wildfire
3) Peace of mind
5) Citizen pride
6) Publicity (inspires other communities to become Fire-Adapted - which is good for the island!)
7) Access to funding and assistance
8) Possible reduction of insurance costs
As of 2015, we had our first Firewise Community success: Kanehoa subdivision in Waimea, Hawaii Island!
We are working with others to achieve similar goals: Waialea, Waikii Ranch, Puako, Kailapa on Hawaii Island; Pii Lani Mai and Ke Kai (Anahola Hawaiian Homes) on Kauai; Kula Hawaiian Homes and Launiupoko on Maui; and Palehua on Oahu.
We view the Firewise Communities process as a great way to get communities to start banding together on a common goal: wildfire protection at the community level. In the long-run, we envision these communities drawing in new partners every year, working towards the grander goal of becoming a Fire Adapted Community.