In 2016, Launiupoko, near Lahaina, became the first nationally-recognized Firewise Community in West Maui. The accomplishment did not go unnoticed. In fact, news quickly spread to the neighboring Puʻunoa community. This year, Puʻunoa will be working towards the same certification as Launiupoko.
To begin the process, HWMO joined its partners from Division of Forestry and Wildlife and West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership to conduct a Firewise hazard assessment of the agricultural lots in Puʻunoa. The team first met with several residents from Puʻunoa and the general manager of the HOA to discuss the Firewise certification process.
They soon followed the meeting by caravanning (and walking/hiking) throughout the community to assess common wildfire hazards and successful Firewise modifications around homes. Brainstorming ideas, the topic of managed grazing emerged numerous times as one of the ways to mitigate the large tracts of flammable grasslands. The group made their way to the Makila Reservoir and Kauaula Stream, important water suppression resources used by firefighters during past wildfires in the area. During one of the recent storms, the roadway across the stream was destroyed — flooding is another hazard the community faces.
Mahalo to DOFAW, WMMWP, Hawaiiana Management Company, and the newly formed Puʻunoa Firewise Committee for playing an important role in moving Puʻunoa towards Firewise certification.