Wildfire Prep Day

Kaʻū ReadySetGo! Wildfire Preparedness Weekend

This past weekend, as part of Wildfire Preparedness Month, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) teamed up with Nā Mamo O Kāwā (NMOK), and led a workshop on Friday night to help community members learn about the Ready Set Go! fire preparedness framework. Many people in the group were volunteer firefighters from the Kaʻū area, and had plenty of knowledge to share with everyone in the room. This wonderful night, which was hosted at the historic Pahala Plantation House was filled with anecdotal stories and great information to be absorbed as the community examined its current fire situation.

Before Ladder Fuel Thinning…

Before Ladder Fuel Thinning…

After!

After!

Community members were able to take immediate action the next day as we got our hands dirty in Kāwā restoration efforts. We got to put our ladder fuel knowledge into action as we removed lower branches of christmasberry and ʻekoa that could easily help a fire climb into the upper canopy of the forest. We planted several Firewise native plants including ʻaʻaliʻi that are now able to grow under the shade of the freshly pruned canopy. Members of NMOK taught us about the cultural significance of Kāwā, and the methods they are using to restore such an important place. In all, over 20 people participated in the 2 events, and we would like to extend a sincere mahalo for being a part of such a successful weekend!

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Wildfire Prep Day 2018

Kohala Waterfront became one of eleven nationally-recognized Firewise Communities in Hawaii after a group of community members came together to spread awareness around wildfires and reduced wildfire risks in the neighborhood. Each year, a Firewise Community has to put in an equivalent of $24.14 per dwelling unit and complete at least one outreach event or work day. Over a dozen Kohala Waterfront community members came out to remove flammable vegetation along the border of their community (on the highway side where ignitions are the highest) to celebrate national Community Wildfire Preparedness Day. They pruned trees and hauled green waste to a dumpster they rented using grant money awarded by State Farm through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

Resident volunteers and Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws get ready to prune a tree to reduce ladder fuels. Credit: Marla Herman.

Resident volunteers and Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws get ready to prune a tree to reduce ladder fuels. Credit: Marla Herman.

Cesar Gellido trains a resident on saw use and safety. Check out the progress they made!

Cesar Gellido trains a resident on saw use and safety. Check out the progress they made!

Firefighters from Hawaii Fire Department give encouragement and thanks to community members who were hard at work all morning for Community Wildfire Preparedness Day.

Firefighters from Hawaii Fire Department give encouragement and thanks to community members who were hard at work all morning for Community Wildfire Preparedness Day.

Mahalo (left to right) Tom Welle of NFPA, Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws, and Emily Troisi of FAC Learning Network, for coming out to support Kohala Waterfront's efforts!

Mahalo (left to right) Tom Welle of NFPA, Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws, and Emily Troisi of FAC Learning Network, for coming out to support Kohala Waterfront's efforts!

The volunteers also had help from one of the speakers of the Hawaii Wildfire Summit who was visiting from Colorado and representing a community organization called Saws & Slaws. Cesar Gellido, who coordinates the community group that trains residents in Colorado on chainsaw use and safety for the purpose of flammable vegetation removal, generously put in the time and effort to prune trees in the community and train some volunteers on saw safety. HWMO's Community Outreach Coordinator and statewide Firewise coordinator, Pablo Akira Beimler, linked up with Hawaii Wildfire Summit speakers Emily Troisi, from Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, and Tom Welle, from NFPA to visit the community work day and offer encouragement and thanks for the volunteers' efforts. As a pleasant surprise to the community members, a couple Hawaii Fire Department engines stopped by the event. Firefighters from HFD shook hands with the community members and offered their encouragement and thanks, as well. 

Keep up the great work, Kohala Waterfront! Credit: Marla Herman.

Keep up the great work, Kohala Waterfront! Credit: Marla Herman.

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Wildfire Prep Day 5/5/18

Youth Prevent Wildfire Bookmark Contest 2018

Participants of the Hawaii Wildfire Summit voted on their favorite bookmarks based on three categories.

Participants of the Hawaii Wildfire Summit voted on their favorite bookmarks based on three categories.

As part of a way to celebrate the upcoming Hawaii Wildfire Summit and Wildfire Preparedness Day, HWMO met with middle school students from several schools and youth programs and had them participate in a youth "Prevent Wildfire" bookmark contest. Students represented Kamaile Academy, Kohala Middle and High School, Waikoloa Middle School, and the Malama Kai Foundation Ocean Warriors program. The artwork they produced conveyed several messages that they could choose from:

"Prevent wildfires to protect our ocean"
"Prevent wildfires to protect our forests"
"Prevent wildfires to protect our communities"

Students from Kamaile Academy in Waianae created their bookmarks during an HWMO school visit earlier in 2018.

Students from Kamaile Academy in Waianae created their bookmarks during an HWMO school visit earlier in 2018.

Ocean Warriors hard at work designing their creative prevent wildfire bookmarks.

Ocean Warriors hard at work designing their creative prevent wildfire bookmarks.

23 of the bookmark entries were selected by the HWMO staff to be voted on at the Hawaii Wildfire Summit on May 2 and 3. 

We are excited to announce the winners of the contest as determined by the many participants who took the time and thought to cast their ballots at the summit. 

 

Bookmark Contest Winners.jpg

Congratulations to our winners and mahalo to all of the youth participants in this year's art contest. Special thanks to Jameil Saez, STEM teacher at Kamaile Academy, and Elizabeth Pickett of the Malama Kai Foundation Ocean Warriors program.

Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove Firewise Hazard Assessment Review Workshop

Dr. Clay Trauernicht of UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension and Pacific Fire Exchange encourages the community members in the room to continue to take proactive action in the neighborhood to prevent wildfire loss.

Dr. Clay Trauernicht of UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension and Pacific Fire Exchange encourages the community members in the room to continue to take proactive action in the neighborhood to prevent wildfire loss.

On February 13, over a dozen community members from Kamilonui Valley and Mariner's Cove in Hawaii Kai joined our workshop with Honolulu Fire Department, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension. The community members heard from the various agency representatives about the importance of taking action early to prevent fire loss in the community. HWMO has teamed up with the community to support them in becoming the first Firewise Community in the eastern half of Oahu.

As a requirement of becoming a nationally-recognized Firewise Community, our team met with several of the community members a few months ago to conduct a community-wide wildfire hazard assessment. After synthesizing the information in a comprehensive report, we designed a workshop to inform the community members about their wildfire risk. At the end of the workshop, the community members listed the priority actions they wanted to see taken in the community to protect it from wildfire. Those actions will be used to formulate an action plan, another requirement for becoming a Firewise Community. From then on, it is action time! The community plans to take preventive action this summer as part of Wildfire Prep Day with a volunteer event to reduce hazardous vegetation along the edges of the community.

 

Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove Firewise Hazard Assessment Review Workshop 2/13/18

Kaʻena Community Wildfire Preparedness Day

The volunteer group taking a tour of a recent burn at Kaʻena State Park. Credit - Dawn Bruns, US Fish and Wildlife Service

The volunteer group taking a tour of a recent burn at Kaʻena State Park. Credit - Dawn Bruns, US Fish and Wildlife Service

“Did you know that 9 out of 10 wildfire are caused by people and could have been prevented? In fact, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes across the nation annually, and Hawaii is at a similar risk.”

As part of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 6 (and a month of activities the rest of the month of May), DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaii State Parks co-sponsored a volunteer event at Kaʻena State Park. Jaime Raduenzel of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Oʻahu Cultural Resources Program and Dietra Myers-Tremblay of DLNR DOFAW gave presentations to enlighten volunteers about fire protection resources, wildfire readiness, invasive vegetation that fuels wildfires, and drought-tolerant Firewise plants. The volunteers also got to take a tour of the site, “a sacred and fragile coastal dune ecosystem, home to many native coastal plants and animals that could not be found anywhere else in the world.” They then created defensible space around the perimeter of the new Kaʻena Point Baseyard and hiked out to a recent burn. 

WILDFIRE PREP MONTH CONTEST WINNER!  A job well done, clearing defensible space around the base-yard on Community Wildfire Prep Day. Credit - Dawn Bruns, US Fish and Wildlife Service

WILDFIRE PREP MONTH CONTEST WINNER!

A job well done, clearing defensible space around the base-yard on Community Wildfire Prep Day. Credit - Dawn Bruns, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Organizers of the event thank Professor Mindy McDermott and her Chaminade University BI 110 People and Nature students for their huge showing at the event. 

“I’m very excited about the future plans to restore areas of Ka'ena Point.  Fun!” - Dawn Bruns, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Flyer for the event

Flyer for the event

HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

For this year’s National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day, on May 6, HWMO thew a Beach Party to raise awareness on wildfires and their impacts on our lands, water, and communities. The Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness was held at the Old Kona Airport at the first beach pavilion. We had a number of fun classes, presentations, and activities for keiki. 

Classes included two yoga classes, a morning session with Chelsea Morriss of Soul Happy Wellness, and an afternoon one with Rachel Forsberg. HWMO’s very own Melissa Kunz taught a swing dance class that kept the hype up in the morning. There was also a kids capoeira class held by Mario Hill from Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii. Most of the kids that participated were completely new to the Brazilian martial art / dance. Following the class, a group of capoeiristas from various parts of the island joined in for a capoeira and samba drum performance.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Several presentations were held in the pavilion that exposed visitors to different partners of HWMO that are doing amazing work to restore our native forests and protect our watersheds. Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, and Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance shared about their organizations to audiences of various age levels. Those same organizations also set-up information booths, which attracted many visitors, as well. 

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

A major highlight of the event was a press conference to launch the statewide wildfire campaign called Wildfire Lookout! Speakers included State Representative Cindy Evans and Chief Eric Moller of U.S. Army-Garrison, Fire & Emergency Services who both stressed the importance of fire prevention to protect our islands. Executive Director of HWMO, Elizabeth Pickett, also spoke to the visitors of the event on the importance of preparing far in advance of peak fire season. DLNR Senior Communications Director, Dan Dennison, flew from Oahu to film the press conference, as well as other activities at the start of the day. You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/216343233

HWMO’s crafty project assistant, Tom Loomis, set-up a few fun games for keiki including a mini golf course, home defensible space ring toss, and pachinko board to win HWMO prizes. Hawaii Fire Department brought a fire truck for kids to explore and Big Island Goat Dozers brought a goat for kids to pet. 

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Visitors had a chance to grind on some ono food from Just the Two of Us Chicken and Waffles and Cool Runnings Food Truck. The Selassie Ites wrapped up the event with a jammin' reggae performance.

A series of door prizes were also awarded throughout the day thanks to our list of generous sponsors: Foster’s Kitchen, Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Kona Haven Coffee, Capoeira Agua de Beber, Soul Happy Wellness, The Original Donkey Balls Store, and Hawaii Water Service Company

A big mahalo to these sponsors as well as everyone else mentioned above who made the event possible, including our volunteers, staff, and board members!

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness 5/6/17

Kaʻena Point Community Wildfire Preparedness Day

Creating defensible space around the baseyard. Credit: Dawn Bruns / US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Creating defensible space around the baseyard. Credit: Dawn Bruns / US Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Did you know that 9 out of 10 wildfire are caused by people and could have been prevented? In fact, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes across the nation annually, and Hawaii is at a similar risk.”

Touring the site of the recent burn.

Touring the site of the recent burn.

As part of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 6 (and a month of activities the rest of the month of May), DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and Division of State Parks (DSP) co-sponsored a volunteer event at Kaʻena State Park. Jaime Raduenzel of RCUH-PCSU, DLNR DOFAW and DSP, and Dietra Myers Tremblay of DLNR DOFAW gave presentations to enlighten volunteers about fire protection resources, wildfire readiness, invasive vegetation that fuels wildfires, and drought-tolerant Firewise plants. The volunteers also had the opportunity to take a tour of the site, “a sacred and fragile coastal dune ecosystem, home to many native coastal plants and animals that could not be found anywhere else in the world.” They then created defensible space around the perimeter of the new Kaʻena Point Baseyard and hiked out to a recent burn. 

Organizers of the event thank Professor Mindy McDermott and her Chaminade University BI 110 People and Nature students for their huge showing at the event. 

“I’m very excited about the future plans to restore areas of Ka'ena Point.  Fun!” - Dawn Bruns, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Flyer for the event courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Flyer for the event courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Waimea Community Association Wildfire Prep Day Promo

Waimea Community Association members and Waimea residents packed the cafeteria on May 4 and tuned into a short presentation from HWMO on Wildfire Prep Day.

Waimea Community Association members and Waimea residents packed the cafeteria on May 4 and tuned into a short presentation from HWMO on Wildfire Prep Day.

In order to inspire Waimea residents to action this Community Wildfire Prep Day, HWMO gave a presentation at the monthly Waimea Community Association meeting on May 4 at Waimea Middle School. Around 100 residents gave their full attention to HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, who promoted the upcoming Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness and Community Wildfire Prep Day in a flash presentation. We hope those in attendance will be able to share their wildfire readiness photos and stories using #WildfireReadyHI on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a chance to win prizes.