The next two years, HWMO will be focusing attention on sparking communities across Hawaii to start their own fuels reduction projects with seed money provided by HWMO. The bigger picture is to get these communities to become Firewise Communities or Fire Adapted Communities - communities that are active and engaged in protecting the community from the threat of wildfires.
We caravanned with Clay Trauernicht of UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension to meet with Anuhea, a ranger for Palehua Ranch (Gill Ewa Tract) on Oahu after our media event on May 27th. Anu took us on a site visit to see the fire danger surrounding the community of around 20 households, nested amongst ironwoods, eucalyptus, and tall grasses. The homes have been threatened multiple times from wildfires in the area, including the recent Makakilo fire that came dangerously close to the neighborhood and scorched the surrounding lands. Anu was integral in helping firefighters gain access to the wildfire and has been able to get the community rallied behind him for reforestation projects and defensible space action. Residents, he said, are quite attuned to the wildfire threat and have been taking proactive approaches that include removing invasive vegetation and replanting with native species.
We'll be working with Anu and Palehua Ranch these next two years to provide them funding for community fuels reduction projects and eventually applying for Firewise Community Certification.