Although recent rains have helped alleviate some of the drought stress on our islands, the longer drought outlook is still uncertain and there is still some alarm about a dry summer and thus higher wildfire activity.
To keep the buzz going about wildfire and drought, HWMO’s Pablo Beimler and Melissa Kunz set-up an information booth at the June 2nd Waimea Community Association monthly meeting at the Waimea Elementary School cafeteria. They primarily shared information with Waimea residents about the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! campaign, Ready Set Go!, and the newest PFX fact sheet on grazing for fuels management. Over 30 residents and political officials and candidates stopped by - the meeting began with updates from County Councilwoman Margaret Wille, Senator Lorraine Inouye, and Representative Cindy Evans (State House of Rep. candidate David Tarnus was also in attendance).
Pablo followed with a presentation about the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! campaign, sharing quick tips on fire prevention and home preparedness. On the preparedness side, homeowners or renters could focus on three aspects: Hardening the Home, Lightening the Landscape, and Planning Ahead. Pablo also had the special opportunity to thank Senator Inouye and Representative Evans on behalf of HWMO for their push to successfully have our State Grant-In-Aid request approved by the legislature. We are very grateful for their support and excited about the possibilities for ramping up our outreach efforts as a result of the new grant.
HFD firefighters from Waimea’s volunteer station were also in attendance and were congratulated for their Grant-In-Aid reward. They will now have the funds to build up their station in the Kanehoa area.
The final presenter was the new interim administrator of Hawaii County Civil Defense, Ed Teixeira. Formerly the Hawaii State Civil Defense vice director, Mr. Teixeira has an incredible amount of experience in emergency management under his belt - we are excited to work with him over the next few months (and hopefully further into the future). We mahalo newly retired administrator Chief Darryl Oliveira for his service with Civil Defense over the past few years. And of course, we’ll miss the great Civil Defense updates he gave. Mr. Teixeira has some big shoes to fill, but he is already doing a great job in his new position. He kept residents engaged at the tail-end of the meeting with an update on the 2016 hurricane season projections (in a nutshell: we are expecting a few more hurricanes than originally predicted). As with any emergency, prepare early!