CWPP Meetings

Kauai CWPP Update Signing

From left to right: Chief Robert Westerman, KFD, Pat Porter, DOFAW, Elton Ushio, KEMA, Elizabeth Pickett, HWMO

HWMO, Kauai Fire Department, Kauai Emergency Management Agency, and Division of Forestry and Wildlife gathered on December 23 to sign the Kauai Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) update. Now only DOFAW signatures are left before five new CWPPs in Hawaii are official! Big mahalo to all who have shared input for these plans that will open the floodgates for wildfire protection federal funding opportunities.

 

Kauai Annual Brush Fire Mitigation Meeting & Anahola Hawaiian Homes Site Visits

Annual Brush Fire Mitigation Meeting

Since December of 2014, Kauai has had its most brush fires in the shortest span of time" in recent history, according to Captain Daryl Date, head of the Kauai Fire Department (KFD) Fire Prevention Bureau. 

Captain Daryl Date and Chief Robert Westerman show "heat map" of wildfire ignitions in Kauai since December 2014.

The numbers don't lie: 104 wildfires this year up to June 9th, the date of the Annual Brush Fire Mitigation Meeting hosted by KFD, marks a milestone that has raised concerns for residents and agencies from all over Kauai. At least 60 or so are considered "suspicious", an alarming rate that has led Kauai Police to sound the alarms for reporting any suspicious behavior.

Derek Wroe of NOAA National Weather Service explains El Niño's potential to delay the next wet season.

To help Kauai prepare for growing wildfire threats, KFD invited Kauai's largest landowners to a meeting at the Headquarters in Lihue. Captain Date began the meeting with these stark numbers and an up-to-date "heat map" showing the areas that have had the most ignitions thus far since December 2014. 

NOAA National Weather Service representative Derek Wroe followed with an insightful look at the fire weather trends. "Lihue had the driest west season in the past 30 years", just one of the many indicators pointing towards a more active fire season. In fact, leeward Kauai is now considered "abnormally dry" (40-50% below normal rainfall during the 2014-15 wet season.) "El Niño has an 80% chance of persisting into the wet season," Wroe explained, "which will delay the onset of the wet season" and thus an early start to next year's fire "season." 

With these warnings in mind, HWMO's Pablo Beimler took the meeting participants through a Wildfire Preparedness for Large Landowners/Managers presentation. Mr. Beimler illustrated the basics of fire behavior and applied them to how those factors could be minimized through strategic management practices, including fuelbreak creation and forest thinning. 

After the presentation, HWMO reps Mr. Beimler and Vice President Sam Patten distributed Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) input forms to all of the landowners/managers, with the hopes to receive their valuable input by mid-July for the Kauai update. Following the meeting, meeting participants also placed stickers of their areas of concern on a large Kauai map that will go into the plan.

Adding input to our CWPP map for Kauai.

The last segment of the meeting involved a productive discussion amongst the landowners/managers and KFD officials. Each landowner/manager shared their wildfire concerns and mentioned any resources they had that could be made available to KFD for wildfire suppression purposes.

 

 

Anahola Fuels Reduction

One of the striking themes from the Mitigation Meeting was the overwhelming consensus that Anahola be one of the targets for fuels reduction projects. Fittingly enough, Mr. Beimler and Mr. Patten traveled to Anahola after the meeting to identify and photograph wildfire hazards along the east side of the island and meet with Anahola Hawaiian Homes Community Association representatives, including Councilman Kipukai Kualii. HWMO had a fruitful discussion over saimin to start the planning process for making Pii Lani Mai Ke Kai a Firewise Community/Fire Adapted Community.

Garbage dumping - a priority wildfire concern for Anahola Hawaiian Homes residents.

Anahola has had its fair share of scares over the last few months. One of the major hazards identified was an area where abandoned cars and trash/junk were being dumped in tall dry grasses. HWMO will be working with the community to help reduce wildfire hazards. In fact, Anahola will be one of 10-16 communities over the next two years throughout the State!

Kauai CWPP Update Community Meetings

Good turnout at the Waimea meeting.

Councilman Kualii and keiki review input collected to decide which items to prioritize.

HWMO collected agency input exactly a month prior to the first of three community meetings on Kauai to update an outdated CWPP for the island. The three community meetings, held at Kilauea Elementary School, Waimea Canyon Middle School, and Elsie H. Wilcox Elementary School in Lihue, were led by HWMO’s Elizabeth Pickett and Ilene Grossman during the course of three days. Each meeting pulled about a dozen people who added their wildfire concerns, recommended actions, and priority areas of importance to the CWPP update. HWMO also made contact with Anahola Hawaiian Homes community members who wanted to take immediate action to reduce fuels in their neighborhood. HWMO will be following up with them to discuss the Firewise Communities Recognition program.

Molokai CWPP Community Meeting

After already collecting CWPP input for a new Molokai plan from agency partners from the Molokai Fire Task Force, HWMO fulfilled the other portion of the input collection process by holding a community meeting in the main town on the island, Kaunakakai. Fifteen people showed up for the meeting and HWMO also made new connections with communities that were interested in becoming Firewise Communities. Overall, great discussions and renewed community passion for taking action to protect Molokai from wildfire.

Community members discuss wildfire concerns and recommended actions to include in the plan.

Even the younger ones took part in placing stickers on their favorite priority actions.

West Oahu CWPP Agency and Community Meetings

For the first time on Oahu, a CWPP will be put together to address the growing wildfire concerns on the small, but densely-populated island. HWMO coordinated a series of meetings to collect input (the same way as all of the other CWPPs) for the West Oahu CWPP. The area has been ravaged by wildfires that have resulted in many close-calls for area residents, including a recent fire that scorched homes in Makakilo.

Counter-clockwise from top left: Kapolei/Kalaeloa, Nanakuli, Waianae, Makakilo

HWMO first met with OWIE representatives from various federal, state, and local suppression agencies to collect their input. Elizabeth Pickett and Ilene Grossman then led a total of five community meetings (on two separate trips) at the Seafarers Training Center in Kapolei, Nanaikapono Elementary School in Nanakuli, Mauka Lani Elementary School in Makakilo, and Waianae District Park (2 meetings). Each meeting attracted 10-20 people who took interest in adding their input to the plan.

South Maui CWPP - Kihei Community Meeting

The South Maui CWPP, in conjunction with HWMO’s recently completed Western Maui and current Central/Upcountry Plan, will cover most of the island with a CWPP. Although not as extensive as a plan, HWMO held a community meeting at the Kihei Community Center to collect input for the plan.

Sharing wildfire concerns and recommended actions.

Map of the area covered by the new CWPP.

Central/Upcountry Maui CWWP Community Meetings

Map of the area covered by the new CWPP.

Wildfires are becoming more and more of a common threat to communities in Central/Upcountry Maui. 

To draw up a brand new CWPP for Central/Upcountry Maui, HWMO held two community meetings, one at the Makawao Community Center and another at the Kula Community Center, to gather input from community members in the same format as the previous CWPP meetings for Northwest Hawaii Island and North Kona.

Kauai CWPP Update Agency Meeting

Kauai's Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is long-due for an update. Hawaii Wildfire is leading the charge in conjunction with its partners on Kauai to update the plan with fresh input and new hazard assessments and maps. 

On February 23rd at the Lihue fire station, Elizabeth Pickett and Ilene Grossman gathered with 12 agency representatives from Kauai Fire Department (including Chief Robert Westerman), KFD fire prevention, Civil Defense, and DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (including the district manager, protection foresters, and outreach and education staff members.) 

Attendees at the meeting kicked off the update process by providing their wildfire concerns and recommended projects and actions regarding wildfire hazard mitigation. 

Find out how you can participate in the CWPP process by joining the upcoming meetings at the end of March.

Banner photo: KFD firefighters place stickers on their highest priority wildfire concerns.

Molokai CWPP Agency Meeting

In preparation of the upcoming CWPP meeting for Molokai on March 18th, Hawaii Wildfire's Elizabeth Pickett met with nineteen people from the Molokai Fire Task Force at the Kaunakakai fire station on February 18th. Representatives hailed from agencies including Maui Fire Department, Maui Police Department, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and The Nature Conservancy. 

During the meeting, an important step for creating Molokai's first Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), Ms. Pickett gave an overview of the CWPP process and asked the Task Force to aid in coordinating the March 18th community meeting details.

Many of the attendees were able to provide their own wildfire concerns and recommended actions they would like to see taken to reduce wildfire hazards on the island. 

The community meeting will take place at the halau at Kulana Oiwi on March 18th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Banner photo: Molokai Fire Task Force members share input on wildfire concerns and recommended actions.

North Kona CWPP Community Meetings

Dry vegetation. Check. Roadside ignition hazards. Check. Challenging firefighter access. Check. North Kona has all of the ingredients that make-up a wildfire-prone area. That's why we've taken initiative this year to put together North Kona's first Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Of course, a solid CWPP can only be created through the guidance of the community (it says it right there in the name!) The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization team held three community meetings to draw input from local residents, resource managers, large landowners, and emergency responders in the North Kona region. The first meeting was held at the Puʻu Anahulu Community Center on the evening of January 27th. With a fading sunset as the backdrop of the outdoor meeting, twenty-two residents, ranchers, and firefighters gathered for the meeting, which kicked-off with a presentation by HWMO's Executive Director, Elizabeth Pickett. Following the presentation, the attendees grouped up in small discussion groups to put down their wildfire concerns and recommended actions and projects to address those concerns. After the thoughtful discussions were conducted, HWMO staff asked a group representative to speak for each group and unveil some of their group's action items. HWMO staff then hung all of the input on a wall and had attendees vote for their highest priority concerns and projects, which will also make it into the finalized plan. To wrap it all up, participants placed stickers to mark their places of value or in other words, favorite places in the North Kona area on a giant map we printed for the meeting. 

We followed this same procedure at subsequent meetings at the Civic Center and Kealakehe Intermediate School on January 29th. A total of ten community members showed up to the meetings, most of them hailing from the Pines I & II communities that just had a wildfire scare - in fact, they've had a few of them within the last couple of years. 

In just three one-hour meetings, we were able to collect an incredible amount of input from such enthusiastic community members. We wanted to share some of it with you (as a preview before the finalized plan is released):

Wildfire Concerns

1) Poor road access 
2) Poor water access
3) Firebreak at Puʻu Lani Ranch
4) Archaeological and burial sites on private and state lands need protection
5) Roadside ignitions
6) Create access to GMA above Puʻu Lani Ranch to maintain firebreaks & grass control
7) Roadside fuels and empty lot overgrowth

Recommended Actions

1) High-capacity off-road vehicles for HFD; Create firebreaks and access roads
2) More dip tanks; Mandatory hose fittings at each home; Keep hydrants clear
3) Needs maintenance
4) Create firebreaks; Utilize grazing
5) More signage along roads; Call boxes/alert systems along roads
6) Work with the State and Puʻu Lani homeowners
7) Homeowners Associations and HWMO to help fund weed-whacking days to help out; Fences for livestock grazing; Create Brush Abatement laws; Educate public about Firewise landscaping and drought-resistant native plants

These were just a few examples of the large collection of input we gathered at the meetings. Stay tuned for the finalized plan which we'll post on the website upon completion. 

Mahalo to all of you who participated in the North Kona CWPP meetings. We can't make these plans without your support and guidance! 

Banner photo: Residents, ranchers, and firefighters gathered at Puʻu Anahulu Community Center to offer their input for the North Kona CWPP.