Cohesive Strategy

Why Some Communities Recover Better After Natural Disasters

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

HWMO believes strongly in the importance of working together as a pathway for communities to become more resilient in the face of growing wildfires in Hawaii and the Western Pacific. We use national frameworks such as Firewise Communities, Fire Adapted Communities, ReadySetGo!, and Western Cohesive Strategy and apply them at the local level to bring neighbors together.

The science is there to back this up, too! A research team from Northeastern University has found that post-disaster anxiety from recent climate-related disasters was reduced solely because of social ties. "Individuals who had more friends, neighbors, and relatives nearby did far better than more isolated people," said Dr. Daniel Aldrich, professor and director of the Security and Resilience Program at Northeastern.

From the Source:

"TG: How can people become more resilient?
DA: To become more resilient, my team and I have put together a package of policies that we're encouraging neighborhoods and communities around the world (e.g. Wellington, NZ, Cambridge, MA, San Francisco, CA, etc.) to try out. These include strengthening ties with neighbors, holding regular community events, engaging citizens in every planning and zoning event possible, creating local communities, and building spaces that encourage social interaction."

Hawaii Updates CWPPs to Create Fire Adapted Communities

Our week in the national spotlight continued with this highlight from our partners from the Western Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy in their latest newsletter:

From the Source: 

"Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) is holding a series of public meetings to hear concerns and solutions to wildfire issues to incorporate in updates to four Community Wildfire Protection Plans. Ilene Grossman, the CWPP Update project manager said, 'We are updating these plans because they have lost community momentum. The projects and input are outdated, and with predicted drought to follow this current vegetation growth, the fire hazard will likely be very high in the near future.' Read more about the CWPP update process here >.
 
HWMO is also initiating six new CWPPs, so that highest risk communities throughout the state of Hawaii will be covered by a CWPP. Funding for the updates and new CWPPs comes from US Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface grants. To follow through with CWPP prioritized actions, HWMO is hosting Ready, Set, Go! wildfire preparedness workshops and distributing a Hawaii version of the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide. Community action teams formed during these efforts are further being supported by HWMO to work toward Firewise Communities/USA designations and Fire Adapted Communities overall goals. For more information, see the HWMO website."

Above: Fire in Puu Anahulu burns near Waikoloa, as viewed from Kohala Mountain Road in Waimea (Kamuela) in mid-November.

Above: Fire in Puu Anahulu burns near Waikoloa, as viewed from Kohala Mountain Road in Waimea (Kamuela) in mid-November.