Wildfire Readiness Presentation with Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset

Ukumehame Fire on June 22, 2016. Photo Credit: Timothy Lara / Maui Now contributor

Ukumehame Fire on June 22, 2016. Photo Credit: Timothy Lara / Maui Now contributor

After a long day of visiting schools across the leeward side of Maui to promote the Wildfire Lookout! campaign, HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, joined Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset members for a dinner at Royal Lahaina Resort on May 16. Fifteen Rotarians listened in as Pablo gave background on the wildfire situation in Hawaii. He then let the group know that there were concrete ways to get involved through the Firewise Communities and ReadySetGo! program. Pablo was able to speak afterwards with several real estate agents about possibilities for promoting good Firewise practices with potential buyers. Mahalo to Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset for being such great hosts (and for the hearty meal!)

Launiupoko Firewise Certification Celebration

Launiupoko, just south of Lahaina on Maui, had a busy fire season last year (even a couple fires burned within the subdivision for the first time). A group of residents responded by forming a Firewise Committee and taking the necessary steps towards Firewise certification. As of 2016, the community is now an official Firewise Community, the first in Western Maui. 

Launiuopoko became a Firewise Community as of 2016 and is sporting their certification proudly on their main road.

Launiuopoko became a Firewise Community as of 2016 and is sporting their certification proudly on their main road.

This accomplishment was celebrated on May 15th at the home of one of the Firewise Committee members. HWMO’s Pablo Beimler was invited to join and to hold the floor for a speech. Committee members and their neighbors made up a group of 16 or so at the celebration. Pablo thanked the community for its hard work and reminded them that this was only the beginning of a long journey towards becoming a Fire Adapted Community, one in which ALL local stakeholders share responsibility in the wildfire solution. The community is off to a great start and although they are presented with some monumental challenges, they continue to be persistent and enthusiastic in their efforts. Truly inspiring.

Wildfire Readiness Presentation with Rotary Club of Kauai

Presenting at Duke's with a reminder that vegetation in the forefront can be flammable especially during drier days in Lihue.

Presenting at Duke's with a reminder that vegetation in the forefront can be flammable especially during drier days in Lihue.

Yes, even the Garden Isle has its fair share of wildfire issues — under the right conditions, anywhere, regardless of how “wet” they are can burn. This was one of the points Pablo Beimler, HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator, worked to get across on May 12 at Duke’s Canoe Club in Lihue. Twenty Rotarians from Rotary Club of Kauai tuned in as Pablo shared maps of Kauai’s wildfire history and stories from the Kokee Fire of 2012. He plugged the ReadySetGo!, Firewise Communities programs and encouraged attendees to participate in Wildfire Preparedness Month this May. We thank Rotary Club of Kauai for the hospitality and the complimentary meal provided by Duke’s. Also, it didn’t hurt to have a beautiful background and cool winds to the presentation (pictured in banner above).

OANRP Volunteer Day at Pualiʻi -- Wildfire Preparedness Month

As part of Wildfire Preparedness Month in May, several HWMO partners held volunteer events to raise awareness regarding wildfire impacts and readiness. 

Oʻahu Army Natural Resources held an event on May 11. This from Celeste Hanley, Outreach Specialist for OANRP:

"Five volunteers hiked into the central Wai'anae mountains with the O'ahu Army Natural Resources Program to help control invasive weeds at Puali'i.  Controlling grasses is critical to reducing the risk of fire to native Hawaiian forests, particularly in a dry forest habitat such as that within Puali'i gulch. The volunteers supported the effort to conserve endangered ko'oloa (Abutilon sandwicense) and important dry forest habitat containing lonomea (Sapindus sp.) through their weeding efforts."

Endangered koʻoloa (Abutilon sandwicense). Credit: OANRP

Endangered koʻoloa (Abutilon sandwicense). Credit: OANRP

Pualiʻi Gulch. Credit: OANRP

Pualiʻi Gulch. Credit: OANRP

Mahalo OANRP and its volunteers for participating in this year's Wildfire Preparedness Month!

HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

For this year’s National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day, on May 6, HWMO thew a Beach Party to raise awareness on wildfires and their impacts on our lands, water, and communities. The Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness was held at the Old Kona Airport at the first beach pavilion. We had a number of fun classes, presentations, and activities for keiki. 

Classes included two yoga classes, a morning session with Chelsea Morriss of Soul Happy Wellness, and an afternoon one with Rachel Forsberg. HWMO’s very own Melissa Kunz taught a swing dance class that kept the hype up in the morning. There was also a kids capoeira class held by Mario Hill from Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii. Most of the kids that participated were completely new to the Brazilian martial art / dance. Following the class, a group of capoeiristas from various parts of the island joined in for a capoeira and samba drum performance.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Several presentations were held in the pavilion that exposed visitors to different partners of HWMO that are doing amazing work to restore our native forests and protect our watersheds. Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, and Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance shared about their organizations to audiences of various age levels. Those same organizations also set-up information booths, which attracted many visitors, as well. 

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

A major highlight of the event was a press conference to launch the statewide wildfire campaign called Wildfire Lookout! Speakers included State Representative Cindy Evans and Chief Eric Moller of U.S. Army-Garrison, Fire & Emergency Services who both stressed the importance of fire prevention to protect our islands. Executive Director of HWMO, Elizabeth Pickett, also spoke to the visitors of the event on the importance of preparing far in advance of peak fire season. DLNR Senior Communications Director, Dan Dennison, flew from Oahu to film the press conference, as well as other activities at the start of the day. You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/216343233

HWMO’s crafty project assistant, Tom Loomis, set-up a few fun games for keiki including a mini golf course, home defensible space ring toss, and pachinko board to win HWMO prizes. Hawaii Fire Department brought a fire truck for kids to explore and Big Island Goat Dozers brought a goat for kids to pet. 

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Visitors had a chance to grind on some ono food from Just the Two of Us Chicken and Waffles and Cool Runnings Food Truck. The Selassie Ites wrapped up the event with a jammin' reggae performance.

A series of door prizes were also awarded throughout the day thanks to our list of generous sponsors: Foster’s Kitchen, Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Kona Haven Coffee, Capoeira Agua de Beber, Soul Happy Wellness, The Original Donkey Balls Store, and Hawaii Water Service Company

A big mahalo to these sponsors as well as everyone else mentioned above who made the event possible, including our volunteers, staff, and board members!

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness 5/6/17

Kaʻena Point Community Wildfire Preparedness Day

Creating defensible space around the baseyard. Credit: Dawn Bruns / US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Creating defensible space around the baseyard. Credit: Dawn Bruns / US Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Did you know that 9 out of 10 wildfire are caused by people and could have been prevented? In fact, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes across the nation annually, and Hawaii is at a similar risk.”

Touring the site of the recent burn.

Touring the site of the recent burn.

As part of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 6 (and a month of activities the rest of the month of May), DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks co-sponsored a volunteer event at Kaʻena State Park. Jaime Raduenzel of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Oʻahu Cultural Resources Program and Dietra Myers-Tremblay of DLNR DOFAW gave presentations to enlighten volunteers about fire protection resources, wildfire readiness, invasive vegetation that fuels wildfires, and drought-tolerant Firewise plants. The volunteers also had the opportunity to take a tour of the site, “a sacred and fragile coastal dune ecosystem, home to many native coastal plants and animals that could not be found anywhere else in the world.” They then created defensible space around the perimeter of the new Kaʻena Point Baseyard and hiked out to a recent burn. 

Organizers of the event thank Professor Mindy McDermott and her Chaminade University BI 110 People and Nature students for their huge showing at the event. 

“I’m very excited about the future plans to restore areas of Ka'ena Point.  Fun!” - Dawn Bruns, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Flyer for the event courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Flyer for the event courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Waimea Community Association Wildfire Prep Day Promo

Waimea Community Association members and Waimea residents packed the cafeteria on May 4 and tuned into a short presentation from HWMO on Wildfire Prep Day.

Waimea Community Association members and Waimea residents packed the cafeteria on May 4 and tuned into a short presentation from HWMO on Wildfire Prep Day.

In order to inspire Waimea residents to action this Community Wildfire Prep Day, HWMO gave a presentation at the monthly Waimea Community Association meeting on May 4 at Waimea Middle School. Around 100 residents gave their full attention to HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, who promoted the upcoming Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness and Community Wildfire Prep Day in a flash presentation. We hope those in attendance will be able to share their wildfire readiness photos and stories using #WildfireReadyHI on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a chance to win prizes.

PTA Earth Day

We had a great time hanging out with our partners from U.S. Army-Garrison Fire & Emergency Services and keiki from around the island.

We had a great time hanging out with our partners from U.S. Army-Garrison Fire & Emergency Services and keiki from around the island.

U.S. Army-Garrison, Fire and Emergency Services (US-AG, FES) has been a long-time partner of HWMO and has assisted on many of the largest fires the state has seen, including the Mauna Kea Fire in 2010. On April 20th, in celebration of Earth Day, Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA) played host to several conservation and technology partners, including HWMO.

Busloads of students from around the island were dropped off to explore the various exhibitions. HWMO was situated next to the Army firefighters and their trucks. Keiki had a blast using water hoses as target practice and dressed up in HWMO’s wildland fire gear to take home Polaroid photos of themselves in it. HWMO also shared about the importance of planting natives around homes, certainly a worthy project to tackle on Earth Day!

PTA Earth Day 4/20/17

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Hazard Assessment

Firewise Communities is quickly taking the Kawaihae area by storm. Kohala-By-The-Sea, the longest running certified Firewise Community in the state, and one of the newest Firewise Communities, Honokoa, are both located in the arid Kawaihae region. Kohala Waterfront is the next community to step up to the plate. On April 19, as a major step towards certification, a couple residents from the gated community on the makai side of the highway (and directly across from Kohala-By-The-Sea) met with HWMO and HFD representatives to conduct a Firewise hazard assessment. They visited several homes to point out and document fire hazards and successful Firewise practices put in place. They also walked along a stretch of the Ala Kahakai Trail which runs adjacent to the makai side of the community. One of the main community-wide hazards they noted were overgrown kiawe trees adjacent to several homes. U.S. Forest Service, through HWMO’s administration, has granted the community $5,000 for a fuels reduction project, which HWMO recommended could be put towards kiawe limbing. 

Native kou growing on mowed green belts that serve as living fuelbreaks along roadsides within Kohala Waterfront.

Native kou growing on mowed green belts that serve as living fuelbreaks along roadsides within Kohala Waterfront.

There are lots of signs of previous burns throughout the subdivision including this charred stump of a kiawe tree.

There are lots of signs of previous burns throughout the subdivision including this charred stump of a kiawe tree.

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Hazard Assessment 4/19/17

Ready Set Go! Workshop with Sukyo Mahikari Oahu

Twenty-seven members of a spiritual organization called Sukyo Mahikari gathered on April 9 to take part in a wildfire readiness workshop put on by HWMO. Held at the Sukyo Mahikari center based in Waikiki, Pablo Beimler, HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator and a member of the Sukyo Mahikari, felt at home as he shared about ReadySetGo!, Firewise Communities, and the upcoming Community Wildfire Preparedness Day events. Administrators from Sukyo Mahikari noted that it was the most well-attended emergency preparedness presentation they have had in recent years. Mahalo to Sukyo Mahikari for the opportunity and hospitality. 

Ready Set Go! Workshop with Sukyo Mahikari Oahu 4/9/17