When it comes to solving our most complex issues, it truly takes a village and the coming together of a myriad of backgrounds and expertise.
On August 29th, over 40 representatives from a number of organizations and stakeholder groups joined a field tour of Kahikinui on the southern slopes of Hāleakala. Organized by our partners from Pacific Fire Exchange and Leeward Hāleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, the group caravanned to various sites to view the post-fire landscape that resulted from the February 2016 wildfire. The fire not only burned through native preserves and cultural sites, but also came dangerously close to homes. A few of the homesteaders of Kahikinui spoke during the field tour to share their experiences of the 2016 fire (and other fires that have given the community a scare).
Throughout the field tour, there were great open discussions regarding topics from grazing for fuels reduction to increasing water access and availability to fuelbreak creation with erosion control in mind. Mahalo to Clay Trauernicht and Melissa Kunz of Pacific Fire Exchange for their great facilitation of these discussions. Big shoutout also to Andrea Buckman and the LHWRP crew for bringing in much of the stakeholder and community groups. And of course, a big mahalo to Kahikinui homesteaders who were so gracious enough to have such a large group tour their community. Also mahalo to the groups who were represented at the field tour: Auwahi Wind, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hāleakala Ranch, KOOK, Aha Moku O Kaupō, Kaupō Ranch, KGLMO, Mauʻi County Council Don Couch, Mauʻi County Fire, Find Us 911, Mauʻi County Office of Economic Development, West Mauʻi Mountains Watershed Partnership and UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.
HWMO is working with Kahikinui community members to help their homestead become one of the first nationally-recognized Firewise Communities on Mauʻi, along with Waiohuli and Launiupoko. In fact, the field tour counted towards their Firewise Event requirement - they are well on their way to 2016 certification!