Kauai (East)

Brush Fire Scorches 30 Acres on Kauai's East Side

30-acre brushfire near homes in Anahola. Credit: Kauai Fire Department

30-acre brushfire near homes in Anahola. Credit: Kauai Fire Department

This is a prime example of why illegal waste dumping poses hazards to our lands, communities and firefighters. 

From the Source:

"A brush fire on Kauai scorched 30 acres of land near Pilipoli Road late Monday."

"By 6:30 p.m., firefighters had control of the flames, but a pile of waste kept the flames from being fully extinguished. The pile consisted of abandoned vehicles, tires and other objects. It was removed by a bull-dozing crew sent by the Department of Public Works."

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization Supports Formation of Firewise Communities in Hawaii

"According to the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, about 0.5% of Hawaii’s total land area burns annually, as much or more than the proportion of land are burned in any other US state. In Hawaii, 98% of wildfires are human caused."

We are extremely grateful to be a part of the Firewise Communities program and were highlighted for our efforts in January's National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Break newsletter!

From the Source:

"Wildfire in Hawaii, like anywhere else, threatens the safety of firefighters, residents andhomes. It also causes damage to the air quality, which impacts human health, and contributes to soil erosion problems that can cause damage to sensitive coral reefs. One of the partners in Hawaii working to help lessen the loss due to wildfire in Hawaii is the Hawaiian Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO). They are a small nonprofit organization that has been working together with fire departments, the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, communities and others to help develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and Firewise Communities. The HWMO was officially founded in 2000 by a group of South Kohala/North Kona regional experts who wanted to create a non-profit organization to serve as an arm for the fire suppression and land management agencies to conduct prevention, pre-suppression, and post-fire work. They became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2002. Since then, they have grown to not only address wildfire issues for all of Hawaii Island, but also the entire state and some of the Western Pacific (namely Yap, Palau, Guam).

According to Pablo Beimler, Coordinator with HWMO, "'Although we have a small staff, HWMO is continually able to accomplish a number of projects due to its extensive partnerships. We can't say it enough: by staying in communication with our partners on each project, and expanding partnerships where needed, they are able to ensure our projects stay grounded and effective.'"

"Pablo described other wildfire preparedness projects in which HWMO is involved. "We have a Firewise demonstration garden in Waikoloa Village, where we have a number of native, drought-tolerant plants growing strategically around a demo home to give community members an example of good defensible space practices. Our team has held a number of community events at the garden and have had a youth environmental empowerment group called the Malama Kai Ocean Warriors help be the ‘stewards’ of the garden. In terms of other youth outreach, we also go to numerous schools and youth programs to teach students about wildfire prevention and preparedness, including Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! principles. We also hold community wildfire preparedness workshops for various organizations/groups or for the general public where we give people a run-down on Firewise and Ready, Set, Go!."  

VIDEO: $5,000 Reward Offered for Capture of Serial Arsonist on Kauai

Screen capture from KHON2

Screen capture from KHON2

"We are very lucky that no injuries have occurred but that can all change in a split second."

This is what's at stake when a serial arsonist is on the loose. Starting intentional brush fires is a serious crime and can affect the lives and safety of many individuals, let alone impact our precious resources. 

CrimeStoppers is offering $5,000 for anyone who is able to catch and identify the person/persons responsible for these fires in Kauai (more than 100 intentionally set on the island since last December!)

From the Source:

"When calling CrimeStoppers, tipsters are required to remain anonymous and phone numbers are untraceable. Callers are given a tracking tip number, to help identify them and the related incident. They are then advised to call back to check the status of the tip that was given. If the information received from the caller was valid and an arrest was made, the caller may then be eligible to receive a reward."

"The way these fires have been expending our resources, is that it's taking away from the rest of the communities." - Captain Daryl Date, Kauai Fire Department

Brush Fire Burns 15 Acres in Lihue

It's been quite a busy year for Kauai firefighters, especially in Lihue. Mahalo to the Kauai County firefighters who have been working tirelessly this year to protect communities!

From the Source:

"Kauai firefighters continued to mop up hot spots Sunday morning from a brush fire near Nawiliwili Road in Lihue that burned nearly 15 acres."

Credit - Kauai County

Credit - Kauai County

Lihue Airport Operations Return to Normal After Brush Fire

Credit: Honolulu Star Advertiser

Yet another thing wildfire can impact: your next flight due to heavy smoke.

From the Source:

"At least three flights heading to Kauai were diverted to Oahu on Saturday because of heavy smoke from a brush fire behind Lihue Airport.

The brush fire began about 8:20 a.m. and was brought under control about 1:20 p.m., a Kauai spokeswoman said."

Hot Under the Collar Over Wildfires

"Wildfires like this one are increasing across the island and are extremely detrimental in a variety of ways." Credit - Chief Eric Moller, USAG-P, FES and HWMO

"Wildfires like this one are increasing across the island and are extremely detrimental in a variety of ways." Credit - Chief Eric Moller, USAG-P, FES and HWMO

Highlight of Ilene Grossman (Planning Assistant) and HWMO's efforts to protect Kauai resident and native resources from wildfire!

From the Source:

"'I want to do my part in protecting the Hawaiian Islands’ natural and cultural resources,' says Grossman. 'Wildfires have a devastating impact on our islands in general, and I want to offer my time to help our communities with this growing issue.'

As long as residents do their part by being proactive and informed, the number of fires can decrease. Regular maintenance of yards and landscaping, for example, is one way to help mitigate fires. It’s important for the community to work together to make this happen, including government entities, as wildfires are both dangerous and expensive.

'When fires burn native forest, what comes back are non-native, invasive grasses and other species that are more fire prone, creating a vicious cycle of fire,' explains Grossman.

Additionally, after a fire, soil drifts into the waterways, smothers reefs and impacts water quality. Air quality is yet another concern that especially impacts fire-fighters. Moreover, the cost to taxpayers to put out each fire and rebuild afterward is another negative effect.

Lecture Will Focus on Wildfires

Check out tomorrow's lecture from a collaborator of ours: Dr. Clay Trauernicht, wildfire extension specialist with University of Hawaii, Cooperative Extension and co-coordinator of Pacific Fire Exchange.

From the Source: 

"National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Community College present the second autumn lecture in the collaborative series “Plants for our Planet” 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 21 at Kauai Community College cafeteria

Dr. Clay Trauernicht, a specialist in fire management with the cooperative extension program in the college of tropical agriculture and human resources at the University of Hawaii, will talk about the role of fire in environmental management."