West Maui is at a high risk of wildfire due to unmitigated fire fuels, limited community engagement in the wildfire issue, and under-addressed pre- and post-fire planning and preparedness. HWMO is taking a proactive approach to protect West Maui's natural resources and communities by developing a West Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) that will help secure funds for wildfire mitigation projects in the near future. CWPPs are unique in that they require a significant amount of community input and involvement. In order to understand, prioritize, and address community concerns and possible solutions, HWMO held a series of 6 community meetings in Lahaina, Wailuku, and Waihee on January 22, 23, 28, and 29.
As part of a two-way communication process, HWMO shared information through a presentation about the CWPP and by displaying large maps of West Maui's fire history and subdivision-level hazard assessments (developed by HWMO). Towards the end of the meeting, members stood in front of a giant satellite image map of West Maui to place stickers on areas of significant interest (watersheds, their home, their favorite park, etc.). The meetings were a great success judging by the vast amount of in-depth input we received. We thank all of you who have taken part in the process! There are many more opportunities to take action as an interested community member as this is only the beginning of an ongoing process of addressing West Maui's wildfire issue.
Banner photo: Elizabeth Pickett, HWMO Executive Director, jots down community members' wildfire concerns and possible solutions.