Grazing, when managed properly, can be an asset to wildfire pre-suppression efforts. HWMO linked with U.S. Army Garrison - Fire and Emergency Services, Parker Ranch, and University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension to begin a project that will prove valuable to land managers interested in using grazing as a fire mitigation tool.
HWMO's President and UH CTAHR Grazing Extension Specialist, Mark Thorne, and UH CTAHR Wildfire Extension Specialist, Clay Trauernicht, designed a study that quickly came to fruition on February 19th on the west side of Hawaii Island. That morning, a team of field assistants (Pablo Beimler, Nicholas Krueger, and Mele Abran) worked with Mark to establish plots for monitoring fuel characteristics, including moisture and density. Parker Ranch representatives and USAG-FES Chief Eric Moller followed close behind to monitor vehicular fire safety during the plot establishments.
For the following weeks, Parker Ranch will graze the area with their cattle and Mark and the field assistants will return to monitor the change in fuel characteristics. Our hope is that this collaborative study will give landowners/managers a baseline for grazing intervals that would be most effective for fuels reduction and sustainability purposes.