Hawaii Island: Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea Fire Burning 110+ Acres Caused By Camp Fire

“A brush fire continues to burn off Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Maunakea Access Road.” (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

“A brush fire continues to burn off Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Maunakea Access Road.” (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

From the Source:

The fire, which broke out about 10 a.m. Tuesday in the northeastern corner of Pohakuloa Training Area, had burned about 110 acres of state and U.S. Army land as of Wednesday afternoon. It’s burning on the slopes of Mauna Kea, about 2 miles north of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and on the Kona side of Mauna Kea Access Road, said PTA spokesman Mike Donnelly.

“In the last 24 hours, these guys have done a remarkable job containing this fire given the brutal terrain that they’re in,” Donnelly said after observing the fire from a helicopter. The blaze is about 70 percent contained.

Earth Day at PTA

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

From the Source:

All students from all schools, as well as the general public, were invited to the military training area for the opportunity to see how PTA cares for the multitude of resources within the 210-square-mile area, he said.

“We want to educate people on what we do take care of the resources,” he said.

According to Marquez, the Army’s contracted Natural and Cultural Resources Program has more than 40 staffers who monitor 26 threatened and endangered species and more than 1,200 cultural sites.

In addition to PTA’s stations, about a dozen local businesses and organizations — including Bike Works, Blue Planet Research, W.M. Keck Observatory and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization — took part.

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness in Kona Kicks Off Wildfire Season

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

We are excited to say that not only was HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness a success on May 6, but it also received statewide media attention. One of the highlights of the event was the official launch of Wildfire Lookout!, a multi-partner coordinated statewide wildfire prevention and preparedness campaign. Mahalo to KHON2, KITV, and Big Island Video News for coverage of the event, and a very special mahalo to Department of Land and Natural Resources for documenting the day's proceedings and sharing with the media.

From the Sources:

"'In the end, all of us are impacted by wildfire. It’s just that some of those impacts are more invisible than others, so people aren’t quite as aware,' Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said.

Pickett says over 25-percent of the state has been invaded by non-native, fire-prone grasses and shrubs.

That percentage grows as fires consume native forests which are then taken over by those invasive species." - KHON2
 

"The importance of land and homeowners to be fire ready is the theme of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day events and activities across the country today. At the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area on Hawai‘i Island’s west side, Elizabeth Pickett watched as several non-profit organizations set up booths and exhibits for the first-ever Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Pickett is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), which with DLNR, and two dozen other State and federal government organizations and various non-profits are supporting the second year of a public and media awareness campaign: Wildfire LOOKOUT!

Pickett explained to people who dropped by the HWMO booth, that just because they may never have personally experienced a wildfire close to their home or property, that doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted. She explained, “Especially in our island environment the negative impacts of a wildfire in a specific location usually has detrimental impacts many miles away that can persist for years and even decades. You often hear people refer to 'mauka to makai,' and that effect pertains to wildfire. Once land is stripped of trees and vegetation it becomes much more prone to erosion and the introduction of invasive species and soot and sediment can wash from mountain forests to the sea where it can choke out life in coral reefs.'

Big Island State Representative Cindy Evans emphasized the need for everyone in Hawai‘i to become aware of these impacts and to do their part to prevent wildland fires. She’s seen first- hand the devastation and destruction, these often fast moving fires cause. Evans said, 'Even the loss of one home is one too many when you consider that with a little awareness, people truly can prevent wildland fires.'" - Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (picked up by Big Island Video News)

Brush Fire Scorches 200 Acres of Parker Ranch

"A Hawaii County Fire Helicopter makes a water drop on a brush fire in Parker Ranch on Friday afternoon. Laura Shimabuku/West Hawaii Today"

Difficult terrain made this wildfire a difficult one to put out, especially with limited water resources in the area. The fire also started on the same day Mauna Kea had snow on its peak and nearby Waimea town was shrouded in misty cloud cover. Goes to show that wildfires can occur even when least expected, a reminder to always stay vigilant.

From the Source:

"The fire on Parker Ranch Land, sparked late Friday afternoon, was 80 percent contained in an area of grass and brush by mid-afternoon, Battalion Chief Ty Medeiros said. A helicopter began making water drops on the fire Friday afternoon, and bucket drops continued Saturday, drawing from frog ponds set up using water lines from the ranch." - West Hawaii Today

From the Source:

"HFD personnel have had some trouble accessing some portions of the fire because of the terrain, with features like deep gulches and ravines, but Farias said that they have been able to set up a fire break around the perimeter of the blaze." - Big Island Now


Campaign Against Fireweed on Mauna Kea Continues

The fireweed gets its name because of its ability to spread rapidly after a fire. After the 2010 Mauna Kea State Park Fire, fireweed has made its way through the charred landscape on the south side of Mauna Kea near the cabins.

From the Source: 

"The Office of Mauna Kea Management is renewing its request for volunteers to assist in its efforts to control invasive weeds on the mountain.

Participants in the “Malama Maunakea” campaign focus primarily on eradicating fireweed. The drought-resistant plant is toxic to cattle and has invaded hundreds of thousands of acres on the Big Island and Maui.

The effort on Saturday, June 7 will concentrate on pulling fireweed along the Mauna Kea Access road and around Hale Pohaku at the mountain’s 9,200-foot elevation.

The weeding helps keep the species from being transported to the upper elevations of Mauna Kea where it provides habitat for invasive insects, OMKM officials said.

Volunteers are also needed for a similar effort on July 26.

To sign up, email OMKMvolunteers-grp@hawaii.edu or visit www.omkm.org for more information."

Above: "The invasive fireweed plant." Credit - University of Hawaii

Above: "The invasive fireweed plant." Credit - University of Hawaii

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization and Pacific Fire Exchange

Thank you to North Hawaii News for profiling Hawaii Wildfire's efforts along with Pacific Fire Exchange's!

From the Source:

"HWMO’s mission is to work with communities to be more fire wise and to reduce the risk of wildfires. Headquartered in Waimea, the organization’s outreach includes educational activities, fuels management projects — to reduce anything that will fuel a fire — restoration of native plants, research and even assisting in the development of K-8 curriculum on fire knowledge.

About 40 people attended HWMO’s annual meeting at the Pohakuloa Training Area last week to network and receive updates on the organization’s projects. Among those participating were representatives from the University of Hawaii Fire Management, Parker Ranch Fire Protection, Hawaii State Fish and Wildlife, Hawaii Island Native Seed Bank, and Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, Kohala."

Above: Participants from various wildfire organizations gather at Mauna Kea State Park on July 20 to discuss events of the 2010 fire that burned 25,000 acres. (PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SWEENEY| SPECIAL TO NHN)

Above: Participants from various wildfire organizations gather at Mauna Kea State Park on July 20 to discuss events of the 2010 fire that burned 25,000 acres. (PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SWEENEY| SPECIAL TO NHN)

State to Install Diptanks on Mauna Kea

We made the front page of West Hawaii Today, yet again! This time, we were mentioned for the hard work we have put towards installing dip tanks between Puuanahulu and Waikoloa. We were also accredited for helping demonstrate the high-frequency of wildfires in non-bare lava surface between Waimea and Puuwaawaa through our fire history mapping project. By showing the high-frequency of wildfires in these areas, we have helped attract funding for diptanks and other resources to assist fire fighters in the event of a wildfire. 

From the Source:

"In addition to the state’s planned fire diptanks, the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, with federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is finalizing environmental compliance needed to build tanks between Puuanahulu and Waikoloa, according to the assessment."


"According to the draft, maps of wildfires between 1954 and 2005 compiled by the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization show that most of the nonbare lava surface between Waimea and Puuwaawaa has burned, much of it multiple times."

Above: "A Hawaii County helicopter drops water on a fire Oct. 5 in Kailua-Kona. The state is moving forward with plans to construct two water tanks that will feed diptanks for helicopters to use while fighting fires on the southwestern slopes of Mauna Kea. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today FILE PHOTO)"

Above: "A Hawaii County helicopter drops water on a fire Oct. 5 in Kailua-Kona. The state is moving forward with plans to construct two water tanks that will feed diptanks for helicopters to use while fighting fires on the southwestern slopes of Mauna Kea. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today FILE PHOTO)"

VIDEO: Saddle Road Open, Mauna Kea Wildfire Burns

From the Source:

“The wildfire at the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area has now consumed an estimated 1,350 acres and remains at 55% contained, according to a Wednesday afternoon message issued by the Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Saddle Road re-opened to the public after 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, with detours at mile marker 29 directing traffic to the old Saddle Road and re-routing back to the new Saddle Road at mile marker 34.5 near Mauna Kea State Park. Mauna Kea State Park was closed to public access, as the fire continued to spread on the slopes of the mountain."