fuels reduction days

Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove Memorial Day Weekend Wildfire Mitigation Project

Representative Gene Ward joins the cause this past weekend.

Representative Gene Ward joins the cause this past weekend.

As a very fitting tribute to Memorial Day, a collaboration of people including military veterans from Team Rubicon, an international veteran service organization that uses disaster response to help reintegrate veterans back into civilian life, came out in full force to create a large firebreak around Kamilonui-Mariner’s Cove. The Firewise Community (the first ever on Oahu as of this year!) of agricultural and residential lots in Hawaii Kai, has been working with HWMO for a couple of years now in an effort to create a more wildfire resilient community.

Carol Jaxon (left) and Elizabeth Reilly (middle) have been instrumental in moving Firewise Communities project forward in Kamilonui-Mariner’s Cove. We cannot thank them enough!

Carol Jaxon (left) and Elizabeth Reilly (middle) have been instrumental in moving Firewise Communities project forward in Kamilonui-Mariner’s Cove. We cannot thank them enough!

Big mahalo to Team Rubicon for the enormous time and effort they donated to the cause!

Big mahalo to Team Rubicon for the enormous time and effort they donated to the cause!

This weekend, as part of Wildfire Preparedness Day, we are seeing what it means to be fire-adapted: everyone playing a role to reduce wildfire risk. The Firewise committee consisting of local residents and farmers, Aloha Aina O Kamilo Nui, and Livable Hawaii Kai Hui organized the work days; Team Rubicon volunteers are knocking back fire fuels; neighboring landowners provided access to the land and green waste hauling services; residents are feeding volunteers; and HWMO provided a hazard assessment, continual guidance through the Firewise Communities process, and a $2,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service. We are so grateful to everyone who is helping out to make Kamilonui - Mariner’s Cove a model for community-driven wildfire protection on Oahu and for the rest of the Hawaiian Islands!

All photos courtesy of Aloha Aina O Kamilonui

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

Waialea Community Fuelbreak July 2018 Maintenance

Waialea has been a Firewise Community since 2016, but they have been working towards wildfire prevention solutions in their small community for several years prior to then. The community fuelbreak, initially created through financial and technical support from HWMO, has been consistently kept maintained by the community since HWMO handed the reigns over. Take a look at the great work they did this July to keep their fuelbreak maintained as a last line of defense for firefighters to protect the shoreline community.

Photo credits: Bill White, Waialea Firewise committee chair

Waialea Community Fuelbreak July 2018 Maintenance

Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove Firewise Work Days 2018

Senator Stanley Chang and Janae teaming up against a particularly heavy tree trunk.

Senator Stanley Chang and Janae teaming up against a particularly heavy tree trunk.

Kamilonui Valley-Mariner's Cove is well on their way towards becoming the first Firewise Community in eastern Oahu this year. Check out their latest community work efforts which HWMO has been supporting, including through a $2,000 U.S. Forest Service grant we have provided for an extra boost of vegetation clearance to reduce wildfire risk. Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, Senator Stanley Chang's Office, and Aloha Aina O Kamilo Nui  have played critical roles in this effort along with the residents who have taken charge to protect their community from wildfire. We love to see this kind of community-based initiative and action!

"On June 23rd, we had a volunteer day at our Target Area 1, the end of Kamilonui Place (nursery road).  Some work was done earlier in the week by the women’s correctional facility volunteers.  Thanks to Ama for bringing them out to help!  On the 23rd we had Mariner’s Cove volunteers help clear what the women had cut down.  Sergio from Tropical Tree Services, LLC, and our neighbor in Kamilonui Valley, has been chipping as we drag haole koa and other trees out of the firebreak zone. What is left to do in that area includes weed whacking, treating trees so they do not grow back, and bagging any random opala exposed."

The community continued the work on July 7th by dragging all cut wood out for chipping.

The June 23 group hard at work.

The June 23 group hard at work.

Celebrating a job well done.

Celebrating a job well done.

"Target Area 2 is located on the closed section of Hawaii Kai Drive behind the Mariner’s Cove homes on Niumalu Loop.  This was also an area where there were several fires last year.  We now have a plan in place to get this cleared! The landowner has agreed to provide us with dumpsters.  Once the timing of the dumpsters and chipping has been arranged we will send out a volunteer work day reminder to Mariner’s Cove residents.  We are hoping all of these efforts will result in less fires in the valley this summer.

BIG mahalo to Sergio (Tropical Tree Service) for helping chip what is cut and curbside

Mahalo to Lenoard for helping secure dumpsters

Mahalo to Ama and the WCCC Aina Angels"

Photo Credits: Elizabeth Reilly / Livable Hawaii Kai Hui

Before of Target Area 1

Before of Target Area 1

Before of Target Area 2

Before of Target Area 2

Another community work crew hard at work!

Another community work crew hard at work!

FAC Net Webinar on Sustained Community Wildfire Engagement

HWMO is a proud affiliate member of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network where members from across the nation share their lessons learned from moving communities towards greater resilience to wildfires. On January 11, HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Akira Beimler, facilitated a panel discussion on a network-wide webinar. The panel topic was on “Sustained Community Wildfire Engagement.” HWMO and three other speaks from across the U.S. shared what has and hasn’t worked for them in terms of motivating communities towards self-sustaining wildfire risk reduction. Community engagement and self-reliance in wildfire protection can lift a remarkable weight off of agency and non-governmental groups. It takes everyone to create fire-adapted communities. 

Check out the panel discussion videos below, which were recorded and posted on YouTube by our partners from FAC Net. 

Major mahalo to FAC Net for the opportunity to lead this discussion and to our friends from FireWise of Southwest Colorado, Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation, and Project Wildfire (in Oregon) for sharing their expertise. 

Pablo Beimler from Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization talks about the role of fire in Hawaii and shares some of HWMO's successful community engagement efforts.
Charlie Landsman from Firewise of Southwest Colorado talks about their Firewise Ambassadors program and how they keep sustainable community engagement throughout Southwest Colorado.
Crystal Beckman from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation presents about some of their community wildfire engagement efforts. Crystal's talk includes information about how they work with their adult education partners to host community lecture series as well as some other community resources they have available.
Alison Green of Project Wildfire in Deschutes County, OR talks about their successful 20-year-old Firefree program as well as other community engagement efforts.



Wildfire Preparedness Month ʻOhana Day at Kipuka Oweowe

Preparing plants and field equipment for a day of planting and wildfire discussion at Kipuka Oweowe in Puʻuwaʻawaʻa.

Preparing plants and field equipment for a day of planting and wildfire discussion at Kipuka Oweowe in Puʻuwaʻawaʻa.

To wrap up a busy May of wildfire readiness events, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s Nāpuʻu Conservation Project held an official Wildfire Preparedness Month event at Kīpuka Oweowe in Puʻuwaʻawaʻa. Each month, Nāpuʻu holds an ʻOhana Day, inviting volunteers to come plant a variety of native species, common and rare/endangered, in the lama-dominated forest restoration project.

This month’s ʻOhana Day was wrapped into Wildfire Preparedness Month. HWMO’s Pablo Beimler joined volunteers in the morning by helping plant natives in the beautiful, peaceful forest setting. As part of a potluck lunch, Pablo then shared background on the history of wildfires and fire management in the Puʻuwaʻawaʻa region. Others talked story about their experiences with fire in the area. It was great to spend time in the forest with good people who were all forest stewards and truly embodied Mālama ʻĀina. They also walked away with more knowledge on wildfires and fire preparedness, as well as Wildfire Lookout! and Ready Set Go! materials.

We thank everyone who participated in a fun and successful Wildfire Preparedness Month this May!

Wildfire Prep Month Ohana Day at Kipuka Oweowe 5/27/17

OANRP Volunteer Day at Pualiʻi -- Wildfire Preparedness Month

As part of Wildfire Preparedness Month in May, several HWMO partners held volunteer events to raise awareness regarding wildfire impacts and readiness. 

Oʻahu Army Natural Resources held an event on May 11. This from Celeste Hanley, Outreach Specialist for OANRP:

"Five volunteers hiked into the central Wai'anae mountains with the O'ahu Army Natural Resources Program to help control invasive weeds at Puali'i.  Controlling grasses is critical to reducing the risk of fire to native Hawaiian forests, particularly in a dry forest habitat such as that within Puali'i gulch. The volunteers supported the effort to conserve endangered ko'oloa (Abutilon sandwicense) and important dry forest habitat containing lonomea (Sapindus sp.) through their weeding efforts."

Endangered koʻoloa ( Abutilon sandwicense ). Credit: OANRP

Endangered koʻoloa (Abutilon sandwicense). Credit: OANRP

Pualiʻi Gulch. Credit: OANRP

Pualiʻi Gulch. Credit: OANRP

Mahalo OANRP and its volunteers for participating in this year's Wildfire Preparedness Month!

Honokoa Annual Meeting Wildfire Readiness Presentation

Honokoa, formerly known as Kailapa, became the first Hawaiian homestead on Hawaii Island to earn Firewise Communities recognition in 2016. As the community continues to expand their wildfire protection efforts at the grassroots level, HWMO provided further assistance by giving a presentation to the community on wildfire readiness programs including Firewise and ReadySetGo! HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, presented to over 30 Honokoa residents at the community’s annual association meeting.

Towards the end of the presentation, Pablo plugged Community Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 6 as a great way for residents to get involved in wildfire protection efforts. The Firewise Committee is planning a community wide chipper day for May 6, using $500 they were awarded from State Farm and National Fire Protection Association. The community will also be granted $5,000 from U.S. Forest Service through HWMO facilitation to create additional fuelbreaks to protect Honokoa on the north end of the subdivision. Mahalo Honokoa for all of the hard work you continue to put in to protect the community from wildfire!

Kahikinui Ready, Set, Go! Workshop and Firewise Hazard Assessment

Assessment team poses in front of a local example of xeriscaping using Firewise principles and native/adapted plants.

Kahikinui continued its incredible year of wildfire protection efforts on November 6, 2016. The homestead on the southern slopes of Haleakala on Maui is a small, but very active community that is on pace to become one of the first Firewise Communities on the island (and one of the first Hawaiian homesteads in the state). As one of the requirements, HWMO, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands conducted a wildfire hazard assessment with Kahikinui Firewise Committee members. Together, they drove around the bumpy 4-WD roads of the community to take note of common wildfire hazards and good Firewise practices already being implemented. The greatest concerns were the high fuel loads on the highway, between homes, and in the surrounding wildland areas. Lack of water resources and firefighting access and ingress/egress were also noticeable concerns.

Assessment team walks the perimeter of a Firewise home within the community.

The Kahikinui Firewise Committee is already planning and working on multiple projects to address these concerns. With a contribution from Sempra Auwahi Wind, they will replace their front gate and remove flammable vegetation at the entrance of the community in December. The proactive committee is a great model for other communities at-risk of wildfires — even with the numerous challenges they face, they have persisted to take small, but important, steps to reduce wildfire hazards to protect their beloved home.

Kahikinui Firewise Community Hazard Assessment 11/6/16

Kanehoa Wildfire Prep Day Firewise Event

As part of a nationwide effort, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) is working with its partners statewide to launch Wildfire Preparedness Month for the month of May. On May 7th, National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day, communities across the U.S. held action days to prepare their neighborhoods for wildfire. 

Kanehoa subdivision, located off of Kawaihae Road halfway between Kawaihae and Waimea, held a community-wide Wildfire Preparedness Day event on the morning of May 7th. Two dozen community members joined the Wildfire Preparedness Day efforts in Kanehoa to remove enough haole koa (or ekoa) to fill-to-the-brim an entire large dumpster within a few hours. Ekoa is known to be an extreme fire hazard due to its high flammability and potential to create embers that can spot additional fires or ignite homes from miles away. 

The community members broke off into teams and removed ekoa from the sides of the roads within the subdivision, greatly reducing the wildfire threat by ensuring the roads can act as a fuelbreak to slow the spread of wildfire. 

Before ekoa removal on roadside.

After ekoa removal on roadside.

The idea for the event sprouted from a Firewise Community Hazard Assessment that HWMO and its partners from Hawaii Fire Department conducted for the subdivision as part of a Firewise certification effort for the community. 

Throughout 2015, HWMO worked closely with Kanehoa to assist them in their effort to become a nationally-recognized Firewise Community. Residents in Kanehoa put in countless volunteer hours and dollar match to ensure their homes’ ignition risk was reduced. As a result of their hard work, Kanehoa became the second Firewise Community in the State of Hawaii. HWMO held a brief ceremony at the end of the May 7th work day to officially recognize the community for its significant achievement towards wildfire readiness. 

Team photo of Kanehoa Firewise volunteers who made Wildfire Prep Day a great success.

All of us at Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization are very proud of the work the Kanehoa community has contributed towards reducing the wildfire threat in their area and we hope more communities will follow their lead. You can be a part of an amazing movement on any given day by gathering your family, friends, and neighbors for preparedness activities that range from evacuation planning to flammable vegetation removal. 

Kanehoa Wildfire Prep Day Firewise Event 2016