Community Work Days

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

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Wildfire Prep Day 2018

Kohala Waterfront became one of eleven nationally-recognized Firewise Communities in Hawaii after a group of community members came together to spread awareness around wildfires and reduced wildfire risks in the neighborhood. Each year, a Firewise Community has to put in an equivalent of $24.14 per dwelling unit and complete at least one outreach event or work day. Over a dozen Kohala Waterfront community members came out to remove flammable vegetation along the border of their community (on the highway side where ignitions are the highest) to celebrate national Community Wildfire Preparedness Day. They pruned trees and hauled green waste to a dumpster they rented using grant money awarded by State Farm through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

 Resident volunteers and Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws get ready to prune a tree to reduce ladder fuels. Credit: Marla Herman.

Resident volunteers and Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws get ready to prune a tree to reduce ladder fuels. Credit: Marla Herman.

 Cesar Gellido trains a resident on saw use and safety. Check out the progress they made!

Cesar Gellido trains a resident on saw use and safety. Check out the progress they made!

 Firefighters from Hawaii Fire Department give encouragement and thanks to community members who were hard at work all morning for Community Wildfire Preparedness Day.

Firefighters from Hawaii Fire Department give encouragement and thanks to community members who were hard at work all morning for Community Wildfire Preparedness Day.

 Mahalo (left to right) Tom Welle of NFPA, Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws, and Emily Troisi of FAC Learning Network, for coming out to support Kohala Waterfront's efforts!

Mahalo (left to right) Tom Welle of NFPA, Cesar Gellido of Saws & Slaws, and Emily Troisi of FAC Learning Network, for coming out to support Kohala Waterfront's efforts!

The volunteers also had help from one of the speakers of the Hawaii Wildfire Summit who was visiting from Colorado and representing a community organization called Saws & Slaws. Cesar Gellido, who coordinates the community group that trains residents in Colorado on chainsaw use and safety for the purpose of flammable vegetation removal, generously put in the time and effort to prune trees in the community and train some volunteers on saw safety. HWMO's Community Outreach Coordinator and statewide Firewise coordinator, Pablo Akira Beimler, linked up with Hawaii Wildfire Summit speakers Emily Troisi, from Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, and Tom Welle, from NFPA to visit the community work day and offer encouragement and thanks for the volunteers' efforts. As a pleasant surprise to the community members, a couple Hawaii Fire Department engines stopped by the event. Firefighters from HFD shook hands with the community members and offered their encouragement and thanks, as well. 

 Keep up the great work, Kohala Waterfront! Credit: Marla Herman.

Keep up the great work, Kohala Waterfront! Credit: Marla Herman.

Kohala Waterfront Firewise Wildfire Prep Day 5/5/18

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!

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

Kaʻena Point Community Wildfire Preparedness Day

 Creating defensible space around the baseyard. Credit: Dawn Bruns / US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Creating defensible space around the baseyard. 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.”

 Touring the site of the recent burn.

Touring the site of the recent burn.

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 (DOFAW) and Division of State Parks (DSP) co-sponsored a volunteer event at Kaʻena State Park. Jaime Raduenzel of RCUH-PCSU, DLNR DOFAW and DSP, 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 had the opportunity 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. 

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 courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Flyer for the event courtesy of DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaiʻi State Parks.

Make A Difference Day 2016

WVA Board President, Amy Swan, endures the high winds of Waikoloa to clear debris from the garden.

On October 22, people from all across the country participated in Make A Difference Day, a day of unity and service that has occurred annually since 1992. Volunteers really do make the world go round. 

Waikoloa played host to a Make A Difference Day service event at the Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park. HWMO, Waikoloa Village, and Waikoloa Village Fire Management Action Committee worked together to beautify the Firewise demonstration garden on what turned out to be a very windy day. That did not stop volunteers, including the village association’s president, Amy Swan, from picking up leaves and caring for the native Firewise plants at the garden. 

Join our e-newsletter if you want to get involved with future HWMO volunteer events or go to our Upcoming Events page.

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

Waimea Youth Wildfire Prep Team

In August of this year, a 4,000-plus acre wildfire threatened a number of homes and businesses in the Kawaihae area. Nearly a week later, heavy rainfall swept the exposed, loose, post-fire soil and debris through stream channels and roads, creating flash flood conditions that caused further evacuations. The clear connection between wildfires, flooding, and smothering of coral reefs during the event led us to create a YouTube video titled: Kawaihae Fire and Flood - Mauka to Makai Impacts

Although the current El Niño brought Hawaii a wet summer, very dry conditions are forecasted this winter. Drought during past El Niños has led to some of Hawaii’s largest wildfires on both windward and leeward sides. The next Kawaihae fire could be right around the corner.

Youth Wildfire Prep Team from Waimea Middle School. From left to right: Zakahry Murakami-Mattos, Jamin-Quinn Lee Rillanos, Zariah River, Kawehi Bell-Kaopuiki. 

With the recent wildfires and El Niño predictions in mind, HWMO assembled a group of five enthusiastic students from Waimea Middle School who were eager to complete a community wildfire prevention or preparedness project. Kyren Martins, Zakahry Murakami-Mattos, Kawehi Bell-Kaopuiki, Zariah Rivera, and Jamin-Quinn Lee Rillanos joined the Youth Wildfire Prep Team in November, working on projects they developed and executed on their own. Mr. Martins and Mr. Rillanos each created their own wildfire prevention signs; Mr. Murakami-Mattos is currently creating a “good versus bad defensible space” video; and Ms. Bell-Kaopuiki and Ms. Rivera teamed up to remove flammable plant debris from the Mālaʻai Culinary Garden. 

The action team was originally inspired by a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) national call to action for youth from ages 13 to 22. Students from around the country were urged to implement their own wildfire prevention or preparedness project between September 1st and November 15th with the chance of being selected as a $500 “TakeAction” community service funding award recipient.

Kyren Martins, one of ten national TakeAction community service funding award recipients. 

HWMO is pleased to announce that Mr. Martins was selected as one of ten national recipients. Mr. Martins, whose family was directly affected by the Kawaihae fire and subsequent floods in August, made and installed a wildfire prevention sign at the edge of his home, which is visible from the road. Kyren’s message about preventing cigarette ignitions alongside the road will certainly have an impact considering a number of people drive by their home everyday. Mr Martins has elected to use the reward for future educational costs.

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization thanks the Youth Wildfire Prep Team for their enthusiasm, hard work, and overall commitment to helping protect their community from the growing threat of wildfire. HWMO also congratulates Mr. Martins for receiving the national award. We plan to work with other students throughout the state on similar projects, using Waimea’s Prep Team as a model for future collaborations.

Wildfire Prep Day 2015

For the 2nd straight year, communities from across the nation gathered together to take action to reduce the wildfire hazards in their neighborhoods. We joined in on the national effort by organizing our second Wildfire Prep Day event at the Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park next to the community pool in Waikoloa on May 2nd. Within three hours of the morning, we were able to accomplish quite a lot with our partners and community members, working towards the goals of having a heightened wildfire awareness and a well-developed preparedness skill set. 

The event started off with a few words from our Board president, Mike Tomich, highlighting the need for wildfire preparedness in the most fire-prone area in the State of Hawaiʻi. This was not new news to many of the event's visitors, who had experienced some of the largest fires in history first-hand. 

HWMO President (on left) Mike Tomich talks about importance of wildfire preparedness.

Nice, sunny day with moderate windy conditions - practicing situational awareness or "Set" of the Ready, Set, Go! Program

Following the opening speech, we held a Firefighter Meet-and-Greet where community members and keiki were able to explore the wonders of the fire engine and ambulance on hand. Hawaii Fire Department firefighters gave tours of the apparatuses and even let the kids get their hands on the steering wheel (though with ignition off, of course!) 

Keiki learn the ins and outs of firefighting equipment from local HFD firefighters.

Future fire engine operator?

Waikoloa CERT members soak in the sun.

After the tours, people were able to interact with members from Waikoloa CERT, National Fire Protection and Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, who all set-up booths for the event. We also had a Keiki Craft Corner where kids were able to color in new Kaleo the Pueo art and create wildfire prevention signs. 

The second half of the event focused attention on the Firewise demo garden. Tom Loomis, Garden Manager and Firewise teacher extraordinaire, led a group of keiki through a Firewise Plant Game Show. While Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative's Jess held a plant in hand, Tom described the plant to the keiki to help them determine whether a plant was a good Firewise plant, a neutral one, or a bad one. The keiki translated these into smiley faces on their score cards. We showed them a variety of plants including "happy face" plants like ʻaʻaliʻi, ʻilima oʻahu, and kuluʻī; "neutral face" plants like dill and ʻawa; and "sad face" plants like pepper tree and pili grass. The students were spot-on with their landscaping decisions, knowing that plants that were drought-tolerant, native, and wind-resistant were the best candidates for becoming part of our Firewise garden.

Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative's Jess holds a sandalwood (ʻiliahi) during the Firewise Plant Game Show.

Getting a feel for kuluʻī and its heat-resistant silvery leaves.

Local HFD firefighters help plant various native plants like kuluʻī in our Firewise garden.

This led us into the final segment of the preparedness day event: a native planting volunteer session. Firefighters, keiki, CERT members, and others took part in getting their hands dirty (and rocky) by planting 75+ native plants to demonstrate how easy and enjoyable planting natives in the garden could be.

Wildfire Prep Day was a huge success nationally and here at the local level. We thank all of our amazing partners for their support of the event: Hawaii Fire Department, Waikoloa CERT, Waikoloa Firewise Committee, Waikoloa Village Association, Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, National Fire Protection, and National Fire Protection Agency. 

Getting silly with our amazing partners and volunteers!