The actions of a single community member can make a significant difference moving a neighborhood to action. Jim Frisbie, a resident of Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu, was inspired to action by a personal experience within his neighborhood that quickly turned into a call to action supported by a broad coalition of agencies and people.
On March 22nd, Pablo Beimler flew to Oahu to meet with Jim to tour the wildfire hazards in his neighborhood. Weed abatement was the topic of priority concern for Jim, who was able to hold a half-hour block of that night's North Shore Neighborhood Board Meeting to discuss a motion he hoped to pass. To give background on the wildfire situation on the North Shore and ways people can prevent and prepare for wildfires, Jim invited Mr. Beimler, HFD Prevention Chief Terry Seelig, and University of Hawaii CTAHR Wildfire Extension Specialist Clay Trauernicht to speak to the board of fifteen. That night, fifty or so people listened in to what each representative had to say regarding wildfire and the importance of community action. Mr. Beimler highlighted HWMO's Firewise Communities effort and shared a few tips for creating defensible space around the home.
After a public comment period, the board members deliberated and decided to support Jim's motion:
“The North Shore Neighborhood Board requests City and State examination of current wildfire regulations and community safety of homes and business adjacent to fallow agricultural lands that present fire safety hazards. NSNB requests that City and State report back to the NSNB their recommendations and conclusions within a 4 to 6 month time frame.”
As Jim explained: "Many of us wish to 'Keep the Country, Country' in the North Shore of Oahu. To do this we must understand the complexities of land management and the difficulties of an agricultural community that is under great stress. While we seek fire safety on one hand, we also wish to encourage local small and corporate farming. We do not wish to place undue burden on the lands such that landowners seek to sell their property for intensified residential and commercial development.
Land that is actively being farmed does not catch fire."