post-fire

Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018

Over the years, HWMO has come to understand that wildfire-related challenges are faced by a wide array of professionals and citizens, including more than just those focused on emergency response. HWMO, through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, held the first ever Hawaii Wildfire Summit between April 30 and May 4 at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows to bring together not just fire professionals, but people working in riparian and marine conservation, cultural resource protection, the visitor industry, planning professionals, and community groups from across Hawaii, the Western Pacific, and the rest of the U.S.
 

Pre-Summit: NFPA Assessing Structural Ignition Potential for Wildfire Course

The first two days were dedicated to the NFPA course on Assessing Structural Ignition Potential from Wildfire. Participants included firefighters, land managers, and homeowners who learned the ins and outs of fire and its interaction with the built environment. Wildland fire expert, Pat Durland, who traveled from the mainland to teach the course, also shared valuable information on the latest research for improving the survivability of a home during a wildfire.

Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - NFPA ASIP Training
Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - Lei Making Party 5/1/18


Summit Main Event

The main event began on Wednesday, May 2, kicking off two days packed with presentations and workshops from over 40 speakers, including our two keynote speakers, Gloria Edwards of Southern Rockies Fire Science Network and Dr. Steve Quarles of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. A wealth of knowledge was shared throughout the summit by these speakers with the diverse audience. Speakers highlighted lessons learned, best practices and innovations in wildfire protection. Check out the list of speakers and their bios by clicking the buttons below.

Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - Summit Day 1 5/2/18
Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - Summit Day 2 5/3/18

HWMO emphasized the importance of using creativity and outside-the-box thinking to get out of our comfort zones, a point that keynote speaker Gloria Edwards so eloquently urged in her presentation. To spur creativity and collaborative dialogue, HWMO encouraged participants to take part in several activities during the breaks and the first evening's meet-and-greet:

* A collaborative Summit to Sea art project
* A collaborative ideas sharing space
* Casting ballots for a statewide youth wildfire prevention bookmark contest. Submissions were from students at Kamaile Academy in Waianae and Kohala and Waikoloa Schools on Hawaii Island. 

 

Smokin' Word


To cap off the event and to further encourage participants to use their creativity and get out of their comfort zones, we held a "Smokin' Word" open mic. Various brave volunteers, from local fire chiefs to representatives from national programs, gave spoken word performances about "why we do what we do, what we are aiming to protect, and to ignite applause and laughter." We were extremely pleased to see our colleagues dig into their creative space and shake off some nerves to share their great pieces. Professional spoken word artist (and HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator), Pablo Akira Beimler, rounded out the open mic with a performance of his poem in tribute to the summit and all of the inspiring work happening by the people in the room to make Hawaii a better, safer place to live. 

We also had a great turnout of Firewise Community members from Hawaii Island and Maui-- almost all Firewise Communities in Hawaii were represented! Firewise committee members Lisa Chu-Thielbar (Kanehoa), Gordon Firestein (Launiupoko), and Diane Makaala Kanealii (Honokoa) presented lessons learned and background about their Firewise efforts during the general session on the 2nd day. We had a Firewise gathering at the end of the 2nd day where participants played "get to know you bingo" to frantically and comically break the ice. From this point onward, HWMO is committed to forming a statewide peer learning network between all of the Firewise Communities. 

Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - Post-Summit Activities

 


Field Workshop


On the final day of the summit, a large group of the summit attendees hopped aboard vehicles to caravan around the South Kohala area to visualize much of what was discussed indoors at the Mauna Lani. The Pacific Fire Exchange field workshop began at the Upper Waikoloa Road Intersection to ground the participants in a sense of place and seeing a landscape-level view of the summit-to-sea watersheds of South Kohala. Then, it was on to Wai Ulaula Waimea Nature Park, where participants learned about watershed planning and about the local native forest. The following stop helped participants understand the wildfire threat that threatens the native forests and the subsequent post-fire flooding that has vastly impacted Hawaii's shorelines. What better place to talk about wildfire than in Kawaihae, where the 2014 wildfire burned thousands of acres and threatened many homes, burned millions of dollars of timber, and post-fire flooding shut down businesses and impacted the livelihoods of local residents. Representatives from Hawaii County Fire Department and National Park Service shared their lessons learned from responding to the massive fire. 

After lunch with a beautiful view of the South Kohala Coastline and a jolt from an earthquake in Kilauea, the group walked to the Puu Kohola Heiau visitor center to learn the history of the sacred site. The group then walked along a trail to learn more about the conditions that are ripe for wildfire in Kawaihae. They continued walking down to Pelekane Bay, the site of intense post-fire runoff and coral reef decay. 

The field workshop ended in Puako where Peter Hackstedde shared about the community's efforts to create a large fuelbreak behind homes and their recent Firewise Community recognition efforts. Paniau was the final stop and a nice place to wrap-up the summit to sea discussion. Some workshop participants stayed for a snorkel tour of the reef. 

Great job, Melissa Kunz, on coordinating such a smooth, exciting, and informative field workshop!

Hawaii Wildfire Summit 2018 - Field Workshop 5/4/18


Here is a thank you letter from our Executive Director, Elizabeth Pickett, to the summit participants:

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Kamaile Academy 7th Grade Classroom Activities

7th grade students making wildfire prevention bookmarks.

7th grade students making wildfire prevention bookmarks.

HWMO's Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Akira Beimler, traveled to the westside of Oahu to teach about wildfire impacts with 7th grade students of Kamaile Academy. The intelligent and enthusiastic students took part in an activity to place photos of wildfire impacts on a blown-up drawing of an island. They had to determine where those impacts would occur on the island, eventually filling up the island with impacts from summit to sea. Wildfires affect everything from mauka to makai. To put this newfound knowledge into action, the students created bookmarks with wildfire prevention messages. These bookmarks would eventually be voted on at the upcoming Hawaii Wildfire Summit in May. 

Mahalo Mr. Jameil Saez for having us share with your awesome students!

Kamaile Academy 7th Grade Classroom Activities 2/13/18

South Kohala Conservation Action Plan - Climate Action Planning Workshop

Climate change is a serious threat that is already having a major impact in Hawaii, and there are no signs that the threats and impacts will go away. In fact, an overwhelming percentage of scientists predict they will worsen. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCOOS), and South Kohala Coastal Partnership (SKCP) invited various partners who are stewards of South Kohala to discuss climate change threats, impacts, and solutions for 3 days at Anna’s Ranch in Waimea from January 23-25. Using climate change as a framework to update the South Kohala Conservation Action Plan, an effort that started in 2010, the workshop pinpointed six major climate threats that could have a big impact for South Kohala’s coastal and marine resources. 

Teams discuss their rationales behind ranking certain threats higher than others.

Teams discuss their rationales behind ranking certain threats higher than others.

On the last day, teams shared their climate action ideas including coastal policy changes and reforestation strategies.

On the last day, teams shared their climate action ideas including coastal policy changes and reforestation strategies.

What are those major threats?

Warming of ocean temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification, reduced rainfall, increased storms, and…you guessed it, more frequent and damaging wildfires. HWMO was invited to speak on the first day to talk about the mauka to makai effects of wildfire: fires in South Kohala have notoriously led to large erosion / flooding events (check out our video on the Kawaihae Fire and Floods for more information). Post-fire sediment that is carried out to the ocean can be detrimental to coral reefs and all who live off of them, including fish and us humans. 

View of Kohala Mountain and the watersheds that connect the vulnerable forests with the sensitive coastlines.

View of Kohala Mountain and the watersheds that connect the vulnerable forests with the sensitive coastlines.

Chad Wiggins of TNC points out mauka to makai connections, while we look out from the ocean towards the coast.

Chad Wiggins of TNC points out mauka to makai connections, while we look out from the ocean towards the coast.

Due to increasing conditions that are ripe for more frequent and severe wildfires in South Kohala, including warmer temperatures, decreasing annual rainfall, and increasing consecutive dry days, we could be in for more destructive land based pollution events that destroy reefs. This goes hand in hand with the scientific predictions of increased storms in Hawaii, which, after a wildfire, can make matters a whole lot worse for erosion and sedimentation and thus for our coastal and marine ecosystems. Check out our infographic on climate change’s impacts on wildfire for more information.

On the 2nd day of the workshop, we were part of a “mauka” breakout group where we ranked the threats of fire, storms, and reduced rainfall as contributors of coastal and marine impacts. Fire repeatedly came up as a major threat that needed to be addressed seriously in South Kohala. 

In order to think BIG about action planning for South Kohala, workshop attendees were invited to join in on an afternoon of sailing from Kawaihae Harbor to Puako. The sailboat was graciously donated by Maile Charters for the purpose of building stronger connections between the various agencies and organizations involved with SKCP and to look at the connectedness of South Kohala from the vantage point of being on the water. As an added bonus, whales and dolphins frequently visited the boat and we were able to swim around Puako’s reefs to experience the beautiful coral and marine life that are critical to the health of our ecosystems and communities. Before an epic sunset, HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, performed spoken word about the Hokulea’s important message that we need to work together as one “Island Earth” and work with Mother Nature rather than against her.

Setting sails for an adventure experienced by various SKCP partners.

Setting sails for an adventure experienced by various SKCP partners.

Sunsets and whales an added bonus.

Sunsets and whales an added bonus.

The final day of the workshop revolved around finding solutions. Breakout groups developed actions that could improve coastal health and reduce climate threats. Pablo shared HWMO’s vision of having communities be buffered by native and Firewise living fuelbreaks, which would also help bring communities together. Better water management and increased water resources was also a key discussion and was ranked very high by the entire group as an important next step for South Kohala. In another smaller breakout group, TNC’s Chad Wiggins, Hawaii State Parks’ Dena Sedar, and Pablo brainstormed ideas to reforest South Kohala (ranked highly as an important next step) with the intention of reducing wildfire threats, increasing watershed health, and improving community engagement, livelihoods, and employment/career opportunities.

The planning area and what is at stake. Working together is the only path forward to build climate resilience.

The planning area and what is at stake. Working together is the only path forward to build climate resilience.

After three days with so many enthusiastic, positive, intelligent, and conservation-minded folks, we feel more determined to continue the important work we are doing to make South Kohala a more vibrant area, even in the face of worrying climate predictions. We are more resilient when we work together and that is a major reason why the South Kohala Coastal Partnership exists and is taking on this climate action planning process. We are extremely grateful for being a part of this partnership and look forward to collaborate with all involved to ensure our coastal areas, cultural resources, landscapes, and communities are safe from or adapted to climate impacts such as wildfire.

Thank you to The Nature Conservancy, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and South Kohala Coastal Partnership for inviting us to be a part of this monumental effort!

South Kohala CAP Climate Action Planning Workshop 1/23-25/18

Puako Reef and Tidepool Exploration

Mauka wildfires impact makai waters. Many people don’t realize that wildfires can have long-lasting impacts that affect our watersheds, drinking water, and coral reefs. After a wildfire, soils are left bare and especially after more intense wildfires, those soils can become hydrophobic or “scared of water.” Rainfall events that frequent our islands can wash away thousands of years of top soil into our waterways, taking along with it trash, debris, chemicals, and other pollutants, eventually smothering our fragile coral reefs.

In 2016, Maui had its worst wildfire season in many years. With barely any vegetation left in the burned areas to hold down silty soils, a mid-September storm rained down on the burned lands and carried trash and debris through our watersheds and out into the ocean.
Chad Wiggins points out species living in Puako's tidepools.

Chad Wiggins points out species living in Puako's tidepools.

On September 23, a few HWMO donors from the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off who bid on experiences at the silent auction joined expert marine naturalist Chad Wiggins and HWMO Executive Director and Malama Kai Foundation’s Ocean Warriors program founder, Elizabeth Pickett in Puako. Together, they explored Puako’s diverse and ecologically important tide pool and reef systems. During the tide pool exploration portion, they learned about the plants and animals that live at the intersection of ocean and land while identifying local intertidal organisms. For the reef exploration portion, the attendees learned about coral reefs and the current coastal challenges such as post-fire erosion that threaten them. Of course, we also focused on actions we can take to protect our shorelines, including preventing wildfires!

Puako Reef and Tidepool Exploration 9/23/17

PFX/HWMO Palehua Wildfire Mitigation Strategies Workshop and Field Tour

Opening circle and prayer to begin the day.

Opening circle and prayer to begin the day.

Pacific Fire Exchange (PFX) and HWMO linked up on July 17 to hold an exciting day of fun and learning in Palehua, just mauka of Makakilo on Oʻahu. PFX’s Clay Trauernicht, Melissa Kunz, and Elizabeth Pickett spent several weeks planning this wildfire mitigation strategies workshop that led into a field tour as a follow-up to a workshop they put on at the PICCC conference several months ago. HMMO’s Pablo Beimler also joined the workshop as a helping hand. The Palehua workshop was tied into the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference as a pre-conference event that interested conservationists could attend. Thirty or so people from various agencies and organizations including National Park Service, Honolulu Fire Department, Fed Fire, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and University of Hawaiʻi joined the event. 

The day kicked off with a workshop at Palehua Camp, formerly Camp Timberline, amongst tall trees and with scenic views of the Ewa area below. Clay Trauernicht gave a brief presentation on fire science using data he was synthesizing from the HWMO fire history database. Some interesting new factoids included:

* 75% of fires in Hawaiʻi are accidental

* 75% of fires in Hawaiʻi occur under drought conditions

* Over 80% of areas burned in Hawaiʻi are grassland/shrubland areas

Clay also shared about values at risk and their vulnerabilities. He adapted an equation he learned from a recent climate adaptation workshop, to fit into the fire science framework:

Vulnerability = exposure (fire hazards) + resource sensitivity (sensitivity to fire) — adaptive capacity (wildfire mitigation)

Elizabeth followed Clay’s presentation by highlighting various mitigation strategies. With these presentations in mind, the participants broke into groups for a computer-based activity. The groups picked a “designated mouse driver” and dug into the wildfire hazards and values at risk in Palehua using Google Earth. Once they determined areas of concern and the hazards that threatened those areas, they determined mitigation strategies they could apply to the area to reduce the fire hazard. They then shared their findings with the rest of the workshop participants. Anu and McD, two men who knew Palehua on the back of their hands, blessed us with examples of mitigation strategies they had actually implemented or planned to implement in the area. 

Breaking out into groups to discuss wildfire mitigation strategies for Palehua.

Breaking out into groups to discuss wildfire mitigation strategies for Palehua.

Scanning through Google Earth to determine areas of concern and wildfire hazards in Palehua.

Scanning through Google Earth to determine areas of concern and wildfire hazards in Palehua.

The workshop then shifted into a field tour as participants hopped into vans for the afternoon. The first stop was an overlook area where one could see where the 2014 Makakilo fire started and took off. The fire was an intense one that killed over 200 wiliwili trees and charred several homes. Mikiʻala Akiona, Public Education Specialist for Honolulu Fire Department, noted how difficult the fire was to suppress due to the many hot spots and restarts that occurred. The group then stopped towards the top of Palehua at a ranch-style building called Hokuloa, which had been used as a staging area and command center for large fires. Participants learned about the importance of having the right fittings for water tanks (as well as the need for suction hoses) and for creating fuelbreaks horizontal to the slope. Throughout this discussion, the participants had a spectacular view of central Oʻahu, which became increasingly obscured by a large rain cloud headed their way. 

Looking out over the area where the Makakilo 2014 fire started.

Looking out over the area where the Makakilo 2014 fire started.

Group photo in front of Nānakuli backdrop.

Group photo in front of Nānakuli backdrop.

Rain cloud headed towards the group while looking towards Kunia.

Rain cloud headed towards the group while looking towards Kunia.

Back of Nānakuli Valley where remnant native forests still exist.

Back of Nānakuli Valley where remnant native forests still exist.

The group then traveled up to a cabin for views of the north side of Palehua, where the discussion turned its focus toward the 2016 Nānakuli Fire that threatened homes and resources such as communication towers. The final stop added a little bit of adventure to the day. The participants hiked up to the top of Mauna Kapu through bamboo forests, stopping for a chant led by Anu before reaching the sacred peak. Once atop the mauna, Gary Gill, a large landowner in the area, gave background on how special the place they were surrounded by was. The area used to have one of the highest concentrations of native tree snails, but the population had been steadily declining within the last couple of years. There were several populations of different varieties of native birds still calling the area their home. Previous fires had burned ʻiliahi forests in the back of Nānakuli Valley, but about half of them had recovered, although they were much more stunted in growth than before. 

The workshop and field tour was a memorable one for us all and we hope that the valuable lessons and conversations that took place were of value for all of the participants. Mahalo to all who came out for a special day in Palehua.  

PFX-HWMO Wildfire Mitigation Strategies Workshop and Field Tour of Palehua 7/17/17

Ocean Warriors Wildfire Lessons and Activities at Spencer Beach

Ocean Warriors learning about Rapid ʻOhia Death and how they can prevent the spread.

Ocean Warriors learning about Rapid ʻOhia Death and how they can prevent the spread.

Learning the fire cycle is key to understanding the bigger picture of how wildfire changes our landscapes. When a wildfire burns a native forest in Hawaiʻi, the forest does not fully recover. Instead, invasive grasses, shrubs, and trees take over and crowd out native species. These invasive plants tend to be wildfire hazards and actually encourage fire to help them reproduce. The next human-caused fire will burn these plants and burn further into the forest. And thus, the cycle continues.

Ocean Warrior scanning area for clues to previous fires, including charred tree stumps.

Ocean Warrior scanning area for clues to previous fires, including charred tree stumps.

HWMO demonstrated this concept through a fun, interactive game with the Malama Kai Ocean Warriors program run by HWMO’s very own Elizabeth Pickett. The youth stewardship program linked with us on June 13 as a group of middle schoolers from Kohala met with us at Spencer Beach in Kawaihae. By playing a game of “fire tag,” similar to “red rover,” the students acted out how the fire cycle impacts our natural resources. After playing the game, we took the students on a short walk along the Ala Kahakai Trail towards Mauʻumae Beach. This stretch of trail had burned numerous times in recent years, with less and less native plants to burn each time. We encouraged the students to look for clues that indicate that fires had burned the coastline. In the end, the students were able to look at a familiar area with a different set of lenses, or what we like to call “fire goggles.”

Ocean Warriors Wildfire Lessons and Activities at Spencer Beach 6/13/17

Wildfire Readiness Presentation with Rotary Club of West Kauaʻi

HWMO continued its tour to meet various Rotary Clubs across the state this year on Kauaʻi. At the Saddle Room Restaurant in Waimea Canyon, we presented to a group of twelve Rotarians from the Rotary Club of West Kauaʻi on May 23. As a matter of happenstance, there had been a large wildfire in Waimea Canyon a week or so before the presentation, so residents in the area were already on high alert.

May 2017 Waimea Canyon fire aftermath.

May 2017 Waimea Canyon fire aftermath.

We started by hearing stories from various residents who had witnessed the fire (and one who was even a responder from a contracting company that works in the area). We then shared information on how residents could get more involved with HWMO and prepare for peak fire season — information we have been working hard to spread throughout the month of May as part of Wildfire Preparedness Month. Each Rotarian at the meeting took home a Ready Set Go! Guide and Wildfire Lookout! flyer. We thank Rotary Club of West Kauaʻi for the opportunity to speak at their meeting!

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

Kailapa Firewise Community Hazard Assessment

Kailapa is a Hawaiian homestead in Kawaihae on over 10,000 acres from the shoreline to the base of Kohala Mountain. Homes there, first built in the late 1980s, are surrounded by very flammable grasslands that have experienced numerous fires over the years. Winds are a major factor in the extreme wildfire behavior that can occur in the area. The most recent threat occurred starting on August 8, 2015. The most recent threat occurred starting on August 8, 2015. A 4,5000-acre wildfire burned across Kawaihae, directly impacting local communities, businesses, and cultural sites in the area. Roads were closed and evacuations were ordered by Civil Defense for Kawaihae. Nearly 90% of the native plants at Puu Kohola were destroyed and large piles of timber from a eucalyptus harvest project in Hamakua were ablaze. The fire burned towards Kailapa, but firefighters were able to stop it a few gulches away. A week later, a large rainfall event washed unprecedented amounts of sediment and debris down the watersheds and out into the ocean, smothering neighboring coral reefs. Local residents recount that the floods were the worst in recent memory. HWMO produced a video documenting the events.

Assessment team looks out at the neighboring wildland areas that have burned numerous times.

The wildfire concerns in Kailapa have spurred the community to action. Since the beginning of 2016, a group of Kailapa residents have been working with HWMO to protect their community from wildfire by becoming a nationally-recognized Firewise Community. As one of the requirements, HWMO and Hawaii Fire Department conducted a community wildfire hazard assessment with Kailapa residents on November 3. Together, the assessment team caravanned throughout the community to note and photograph common wildfire hazards, as well as good Firewise practices already being implemented. The greatest concerns were the lack of water resources, ingress/egress, and fuels management between homes and in the surrounding wildland areas.

Living fuelbreak that was created in the spring of 2016 using U.S. Forest Service WUI grant funding through HWMO.

In the spring of 2016, Kailapa, with the facilitation of U.S. Forest Service WUI funds from HWMO, created a living fuelbreak on a slope on Kona side of the subdivision. The community would like to continue and expand project such as these throughout the subdivision to better protect homes from the dangers of wildfire in Kawaihae.

Kailapa is on pace to become the first Hawaiian homestead on Hawaii Island to be a certified Firewise Community. Great work Kailapa!

Kailapa Firewise Community Hazard Assessment 11/3/16

PFX Kahikinui Field Tour

When it comes to solving our most complex issues, it truly takes a village and the coming together of a myriad of backgrounds and expertise. 

PFX FIeld Tour begins at lookout on the eastern makai side of Kahikinui.

On August 29th, over 40 representatives from a number of organizations and stakeholder groups joined a field tour of Kahikinui on the southern slopes of Hāleakala. Organized by our partners from Pacific Fire Exchange and Leeward Hāleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, the group caravanned to various sites to view the post-fire landscape that resulted from the February 2016 wildfire. The fire not only burned through native preserves and cultural sites, but also came dangerously close to homes. A few of the homesteaders of Kahikinui spoke during the field tour to share their experiences of the 2016 fire (and other fires that have given the community a scare). 

Firefighters share their experiences fighting fires in Kahikinui. Attendees listen in as they survey the land from the mauka edge of the fire. Photo Credit: Clay Trauernicht/PFX

Throughout the field tour, there were great open discussions regarding topics from grazing for fuels reduction to increasing water access and availability to fuelbreak creation with erosion control in mind. Mahalo to Clay Trauernicht and Melissa Kunz of Pacific Fire Exchange for their great facilitation of these discussions. Big shoutout also to Andrea Buckman and the LHWRP crew for bringing in much of the stakeholder and community groups. And of course, a big mahalo to Kahikinui homesteaders who were so gracious enough to have such a large group tour their community. Also mahalo to the groups who were represented at the field tour: Auwahi Wind, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hāleakala Ranch, KOOK, Aha Moku O Kaupō, Kaupō Ranch, KGLMO, Mauʻi County Council Don Couch, Mauʻi County Fire, Find Us 911, Mauʻi County Office of Economic Development, West Mauʻi Mountains Watershed Partnership and UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

Pablo Beimler (HWMO) shares Firewise Communities updates with the group. Photo credit: Chris Brosius, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership

HWMO is working with Kahikinui community members to help their homestead become one of the first nationally-recognized Firewise Communities on Mauʻi, along with Waiohuli and Launiupoko. In fact, the field tour counted towards their Firewise Event requirement - they are well on their way to 2016 certification!

PFX Kahikinui Field Tour 8/29/16