Through quarterly meetings with the Big Island Wildfire Coordinating Group (BIWCG, for short), our emergency response agencies keep each other abreast of the latest departmental news, lessons learned, equipment purchases, and upcoming trainings. Through BIWCG, Hawaii County has seen greater collaboration amongst the response agencies.
HWMO is proud to be a long-time member of BIWCG, which met again at the Hawaii County Civil Defense emergency operations center on the morning of August 17th. The meeting was set-up primarily as a meet-and-greet with new Hawaii County Civil Defense director Ed Teixeira, who stepped into the role of newly-retired Chief Darryl Oliveira. Mr. Teixeira was formerly vice director of Hawaii State Civil Defense and offers a wealth of knowledge about emergency response, including with wildfires.
Much of the meeting was dedicated to a great discussion facilitated by Melissa Kunz, HWMO staff member and PFX Coordination Assistant. Melissa asked each fire expert at the table about their “best practices” for fuelbreak creation. Bottom line: try to make them as wide as you can without creating vulnerabilities (such as incomplete maintenance, not mowing grasses low enough, placing them in the wrong location, etc.)
HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, gave an update on the Firewise Communities progress being made on the Big Island and Maui. We will be conducting assessments in mid-September for Waikoloa (Hawaii Island), Kahikinui (Maui), and Waiohuli HIkina (Maui) and are coordinating with our emergency response partners for assistance during those events.