Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) are largely built on a foundation of community and local knowledge of a landscape. This steady foundation is what gets the ball rolling for wildfire management projects for agencies and community groups, including yours truly, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. By getting a thorough understanding of the needs on the ground level, we are able to make effective change through projects that are highly-relevant and workable amongst the landscape and with the community.
We set up a series of CWPP update community meetings throughout the southern portion of the Big Island in four major areas: Volcano (October 28), Kau (October 28), Ocean View (October 29), and South Kona (November 5). During these meetings, we collected input from fire agency and land management representatives from Hawaii Fire Department, National Park Service, Kamehameha Schools, and Hawaii Community College (we will be collecting further input from our other agency partners) along with community members who wished to have their voices heard. Attendees broke into small groups to list their wildfire concerns and the recommended actions they'd like to see taken in their area in response.
Comments received included:
Improved access & firefighting capability:
- Open up roadways to allow better firefighter access
- Buy county a brush truck for better access
- Enforce brush clearance laws around structures
- Create firebreaks and access roads
- Improve signage on homes and roads to assist firefighter response
- Agreements with large landowners to allow more diptanks to be installed
- County or state ordinance to address brush management on roads
- Involve county council and decision makers
- Adult, community, youth and new homeowners education and outreach
Firefighter Training & Equipment
- Increase incident command training
- Funding to secure wildland fire training and equipment
Reduce and Manage Vegetation:
- Need grazing animals to reduce vegetation (fuels)
We also asked attendees to place stickers on their top concerns and actions as a way to prioritize them for each community. Attendees also placed stickers on areas of interest on large maps we printed out displaying the CWPP area and its boundaries.
We know there's a wealth of knowledge out there in these areas and we are still looking for more of your input! You can reach out to us to provide input (concerns and recommended actions) by calling us at (808) 885-0900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. March 1st is the deadline for providing input.
For more detailed information on the CWPP updates, check out one of the latest front page articles on the West Hawaii Today:
Banner photo: Community members and HFD firefighters discuss wildfire concerns and recommended action steps during the CWPP Update Meeting at Ocean View Community Center on October 29th.