Launiupoko on the west side of Maui has suffered through a number of close calls with wildfires over the past few years. Even this year alone, there have been a handful of fires that have started near or within the community.
As part of our current goal of creating at least ten nine Firewise Communities (Kanehoa was our first official one!) within the next year, HWMO's Pablo Beimler and West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership's Chris Brosius met with Launiupoko residents on February 17th to conduct a Firewise Hazard Assessment.
The team of new Firewise Committee members from Launiupoko gave background on the fire issues they had witnessed over the years. Much of the discussions revolved around the vegetative make-up of the area and water issues. Mr. Brosius helped connect the importance of creating a dynamic landscape that served the purpose of mitigating wildfire hazards while also restoring the watershed - these goals must work hand-in-hand to create a resilient landscape and community.
We were able to tour some of the committee members' properties to assess wildfire hazards and mitigation successes at the home level. We also toured areas of wildland in and around the community to get a sense for the larger landscape and its relationship with the community.
As a next step, HWMO will complete an official write-up of the assessment and deliver it to the committee members who will then devise an action plan.
Mahalo to Launiupoko Firewise Committee members who were excellent hosts and are the spark plugs for larger community efforts to come!