Hawaii Island: South Kohala

Waikii Ranch 3rd Annual Firewise BBQ

Chief Eric Moller gives the latest wildfire conditions update.

Chief Eric Moller gives the latest wildfire conditions update.

Waikii Ranch became a Firewise Community in 2017 and has been going strong ever since in their community-based wildfire resilience efforts. On Saturday, May 18, HWMO’s Pablo Akira Beimler and Carson Magoon were invited to join residents for an info session and BBQ. We shared HWMO updates and stressed the importance of getting ready now rather than later for peak fire season.

U.S. Army-Garrison, FES Chief Eric Moller and Captain Bill Bergin from Hawaii Fire Department also gave brief presentations, reiterating the importance of Firewise landscaping, home fire-proofing, and evacuation planning (Ready, Set, Go!)

The food was delicious, and as an added bonus, each resident could take home a koaia tree to plant in their own yard as part of their Firewise landscaping.

Puukapu Pastoral Wildfire Planning Meeting and RSG! Workshop

HFD gives a presentation on wildfire access in Puukapu.

HFD gives a presentation on wildfire access in Puukapu.

An elaborate 3D map the Puukapu Pastoral committee assembled.

An elaborate 3D map the Puukapu Pastoral committee assembled.

Last year, Puukapu Pastoral became the 9th Firewise Community on Hawaii Island (and the 4th Firewise Community statewide on Hawaiian Home Lands). A committed group of community members from Puukapu Pastoral Steering Committee / Firewise are taking action to reduce the fire threats of the Waimea homestead area. Through outreach and education, community members are reaching out to neighbors about the importance of creating defensible space around houses, hardening homes, and having a household evacuation plan. The committee is also developing a well-thought-out, community-driven plan to create safer first response access and ingress/egress.

On March 21, the committee held a community meeting and invited HWMO and HFD representatives to give presentations. HWMO’s Pablo Akira Beimler gave a comprehensive Ready, Set, Go! wildfire preparedness workshop to the intent participants. The highlight of the night for us was to see an amazing 3D map the committee members had created (they were up till the wee hours of the night!) to demonstrate their color-coded road system proposal. We were very impressed with the level of detail and the immense effort and care the group put into this project. This community spirit is what keeps HWMO motivated to do the work that we do and support efforts like this. Keep up the great work, Puukapu!

Waimea Middle School IKAIR Day at Puako Fuelbreak

Playing “fire tag” in Puako.

Playing “fire tag” in Puako.

March 14 was Waimea Middle School IKAIR Day - a day of service for WMS students and faculty. Several groups from WMS visited different project sites around North Hawaii. One group joined Keep Puako Beautiful and the Kohala Center at Puako (a Firewise Community) to collect and measure marine debris and spread mulch onto the community fuelbreak. HWMO was invited to give a brief presentation on the history of the fuelbreak and the importance of pre-fire action and native plant restoration. Students were led through a few games of “fire tag” to demonstrate how a native forest converts to grass savanna in Hawaii. After these teaching moments, the students took action to spread mulch on the fuelbreak, keeping pesky fire-prone weeds from growing back and keeping the delicate soil in place and away from the reefs. Good work team and big mahalo to Cynthia Ho for inviting us!

Hawaii Island (Kailapa) Vegetative Fuels Management Collaborative Action Planning Workshop

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Fire follows fuel. On February 26 at the Hawaii Innovation Center in Hilo, we convened a huge group of 48 people on Hawaii Island representing a patchwork of different agencies, groups, and organizations across a variety of fields to come together to plan for collaborative, large-scale vegetation management to reduce wildfire risks throughout the island. This was part of a series of workshops on Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii Island we held in February on this matter (we had a similar meeting on Maui in 2018). Big mahalo to the Kailapa community, a nationally recognized Firewise Community on Hawaiian Home Lands in Kawaihae, for hosting us at their beautiful new pavilion.

During the workshop, participants:

  • Checked out the results of recent efforts to map current management of hazardous vegetative fuels (thanks to all of the information that partners contributed).

  • Identified and discussed shared regional fuels management priorities to mitigate the risks of wildfire across our island landscapes through a facilitated series of small and large group conversations.

Marking values at risk and important areas for risk reduction.

Marking values at risk and important areas for risk reduction.

Sharing ideas for next step priority actions.

Sharing ideas for next step priority actions.

Voting for priority project ideas.

Voting for priority project ideas.

The knowledge and priorities of the participants will contribute to planning next steps in the ongoing collaboration to manage vegetative fuels to reduce wildfire and protect our communities and natural resources.

We are all in this together and it takes all of us!

Stay tuned via our website, social media, and e-newsletter (sign up at the bottom of this page) for final project-related products before this summer.

Mahalo DOFAW, UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension / Pacific Fire Exchange for co-organizing with us.

Hawaii Island (Hilo) Vegetative Fuels Management Collaborative Action Planning Workshop

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Fire follows fuel. On February 22 at the Hawaii Innovation Center in Hilo, we convened a large group of 20 people on Hawaii Island representing a patchwork of different agencies, groups, and organizations across a variety of fields to come together to plan for collaborative, large-scale vegetation management to reduce wildfire risks throughout the island. This was part of a series of workshops on Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii Island we held in February on this matter (we had a similar meeting on Maui in 2018).

During the workshop, participants:

  • Checked out the results of recent efforts to map current management of hazardous vegetative fuels (thanks to all of the information that partners contributed).

  • Identified and discussed shared regional fuels management priorities to mitigate the risks of wildfire across our island landscapes through a facilitated series of small and large group conversations.

Mayor Harry Kim sharing about the importance of fuels management for public safety.

Mayor Harry Kim sharing about the importance of fuels management for public safety.

Marking values at risk and areas for fuels treatments.

Marking values at risk and areas for fuels treatments.

Chief Eric Moller pointing out values at risk at PTA.

Chief Eric Moller pointing out values at risk at PTA.

The knowledge and priorities of the participants will contribute to planning next steps in the ongoing collaboration to manage vegetative fuels to reduce wildfire and protect our communities and natural resources.

We are all in this together and it takes all of us!

Stay tuned via our website, social media, and e-newsletter (sign up at the bottom of this page) for final project-related products before this summer.

Mahalo DOFAW, UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension / Pacific Fire Exchange for co-organizing with us.

Special thank you to Mayor Harry Kim, Chief Moller from US Army-Garrison, FES and Chief Okinaka from Hawaii Fire Department for joining us at the workshop.

Wiliwili Festival 2019

Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative each year throws a huge festival to bring people from all over the island and many visitors to Waikoloa to see their beautiful dry forest preserve and learn from various community groups about ways they can take action for the environment. HWMO set-up a booth this year with information on wildfire preparedness (including many Ready, Set, Go! action guides) and goodies for the kids (plus, a pachinko game and a “guess how many chili beans in the jar” game).

Learn how you can help restore the native forest of Waikoloa: https://waikoloadryforest.org/


New Year's Firewise Communities Potluck and RSG! Workshop

Community bonding is an important part of the wildfire solution. HWMO gathered Firewise Community members from a variety of different communities on Hawaii Island for a night of fun and learning on January 15 at Tutu’s House in Waimea. Along with an in-depth Ready, Set, Go! wildfire preparedness presentation, community members also mingled to meet each other and share about community successes and struggles dealing with wildfire. As an ice-breaker, we had a jan-ken-pon (rock, paper, scissors) tournament where community members faced off in one-game elimination matches. The winner was Diane Makaala Kanealii from Kailapa who then faced the winner of the Hawaii Fire Department tourney — and she beat them, too! The catch — each time a winner beat their opponent, that opponent had to join all following matches as a “fan” of that winner. By the end, the winner collects everyone as a fan for them, cheering and rooting them on. Mahalo The Nature Conservancy in Waimea for teaching us this fun spin on a classic!

Did we mention the super delicious make-your-own-taco bar! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the meal and came out to Tutu’s House.



Firewise Update Presentation with Kailapa Community Association Annual Meeting

Several updates were given at the meeting, including from HWMO.

Several updates were given at the meeting, including from HWMO.

On January 13, HWMO’s Pablo Beimler joined Kailapa Community Association for their annual meeting, which drew dozens of community members from the Hawaiian homestead community in Kawaihae. Pablo shared updates on the upcoming wildfire season, ReadySetGo! and Wildfire LOOKOUT! tips, and Firewise Communities information. Kailapa has been a nationally-recognized Firewise Community since 2016 and they continue to do a stellar job of taking action within the community to protect their area from wildfire. Mahalo Kailapa!

Kailapa Firewise Chipper Days 2018

This December, Kailapa residents took the initiative to thin and remove hazardous and flammable trees near homes as part of their Firewise Communities efforts. The community on Hawaiian Home Lands has been a Firewise Community since 2016 and has been doing great work to protect the residents and watershed from wildfire since then. As part of their December efforts, a chipper was hired to reduce the trees to woodchips that can be used for other projects. Nice work, Kailapa!

Hello, World!Kailapa Firewise Chipper Days December 2018

Waikoloa Village Firewise Green Waste Day

Mark Gordon, Fire Management Action Committee Chair, shares a laugh in front of the roll-out dumpster used for the green waste collection event. Credit: Waikoloa Village Fire Management Action Committee

Mark Gordon, Fire Management Action Committee Chair, shares a laugh in front of the roll-out dumpster used for the green waste collection event. Credit: Waikoloa Village Fire Management Action Committee

Waikoloa Village was on a roll this last weekend — literally. The WVA Fire Management Action Committee, chaired by Mark Gordon, contracted to have a large roll-out dumpster placed at the Waikoloa Stables for most of the day so that residents had a convenient location to dispose of yard waste and thereby reduce the fire risk around homes in the fire-prone subdivision.

The Firewise event organizers exceeded expectations, with the bin almost three-quarters of the way filled within the first hour or so — it was completely full by the end of the event. Over 30 people dropped off yard waste they had removed from around their homes, creating defensible space, which is an important part of being Ready for a wildfire.

Big mahalo to the work done by Steve, the newest Fire Management Committee member, Wayne, Mark, and the Waikoloa Stables groundskeeper who all volunteered their time towards assisting people in disposing of yard waste.

This event will help qualify Waikoloa Village for a 3rd straight year of having a national Firewise recognition. Great work everyone!


Waikoloa Village Firewise Green Waste Day 11/10/18