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El Nino Impacts Likely Through Winter, Into Spring - Higher Potential for Large Wildfires in Hawaii

“A Hawaii County firefighter monitors a brush fire.” (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

“A Hawaii County firefighter monitors a brush fire.” (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

El Nino means a higher potential for large fires throughout much of Hawaii. Be prepared by going through the Ready Set Go! Action Guide and WildfireLOOKOUT! materials — there are many ways to get involved and Take Action.

From the Source:

El Nino has more than one impact on water. It doesn’t just heat it up, it changes how much falls from the sky and when.

Matthew Foster, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said NWS has forecast a 90 percent chance of El Nino in the winter and a 60 percent chance it persists into the spring.

According to North Ops Predictive Services, rainfall totals are projected below normal levels from December through the spring months assuming an El Nino takes hold and hangs around.

Because of this, and despite rainfall through last summer and fall that left green grass crop in several areas across the state, large fire potential is expected to increase to above normal levels from January to March.

“December was still neutral conditions,” Foster said, “(But) it would be expected drier than normal over the next few months.”

New Year’s Eve and Day were jointly characterized by three separate blazes in West Hawaii alone, two in the area of Waikoloa Village and one above Hawaiian Homes in Kawaihae.

Fire Is the One Hawaii Disaster We Can Avoid

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

An excellent article by Dr. Clay Trauernicht, wildland fire specialist of University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension and Pacific Fire Exchange.

Not only does he explain why wildfires in Hawaii have burned 30,000 acres in August 2018, (more than double the annual average), but that it was predictable and there is much people can do to prevent wildfires. Dr. Trauernicht specifically sites the Wildfire LOOKOUT! tips for wildfire prevention.

To learn more about what you can do to protect your home and community from wildfire, visit HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout

From the Source:

Vegetation may be the most problematic issue facing fire management in Hawaii. Simply put, our communities and forests now exist amid an ocean of fire-prone grasslands and shrublands — about a million acres statewide. This is mostly a consequence of benign neglect as the value of real estate outweighs the value of maintaining production landscapes. Our agricultural and ranching footprint has declined by more than 60 percent across the state….

So what can we do about it? Awareness and education is the first step. Multiple state and county agencies and non-profits are working on this via the Hawaii Wildfire Lookout! Campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Fire prevention education can reduce accidental fires. Homes can be “hardened” to reduce the risk of loss. Communities can become “firewise” and organize to take actions such as increasing access for firefighters and reducing hazardous fuels near homes.

Vegetation is in some sense the simplest issue to tackle because it is the only fire hazard we can directly manage.  Yet it is also the most challenging due to the scale of the problem — the million acres of grasslands and shrublands across the state. There are multiple solutions for reducing risk in these fuels: fuel breaks, targeted grazing, prescribed fire, the restoration of agricultural and native ecosystems. There are also regulatory measures that can help such as firewise building and development codes.

Check out this letter to the editor from a former Firewise Co-Chair for Launiupoko, Ms. Linda Jenkins, who talks about their Firewise outreach efforts as a pathway forward.

”We completed assessments and provided all our neighbors with tips on how to make their homes and properties fire wise. An extensive public education campaign was conducted and we received our Firewise certification. We circulated tips on how to build a home and lay out a property to reduce fire risk. We also circulated tips on how to make your existing property and already built home safer.

This was successful in that many people made simple changes to their properties. I was also on the board at Makila and we maintained the sides of the bike path to create a fire break and kept our grass verges green.”

Amid The Horrors Of Wildfire, A Tale Of Survival And Singed Whiskers

NPR Article_10_17_17_image31-8f82cf86d4515949ba78a675845ff4fe6bd9bcdd-s800-c85.jpg

It has been heavy news, one after another, with the California wildfires alone (not to mention the numerous destructive hurricanes this summer). We thought we'd share this incredible story of survival (of both humans and pets) for a glimpse at the silver-linings that can exist during such tremendous disasters. Added bonus, the story reveals how strategic, controlled grazing can literally save lives!

From the Source:

"What they discovered was both the worst and the best of outcomes. The house was gone, the trucks were gone, everything was ash and gray.

Except for the goats.

All eight of them had survived. Odin did, too, limping, with singed fur and melted whiskers. But his tail still wagged. Hendel thinks he knows what happened."

"As he shuffled through some things — watching objects disintegrate into ash as he poked at them — he heard the noise. It was unmistakable: a bleat that could only come from a goat. There, standing in the drive were Lucy and Ethel, singed and hungry and fine. Somebody, probably the firefighters, had even left them a bowl of water. He has no real idea how they survived, only a theory.

'All I can think is the pasture was just low grass and so the fire couldn't sustain itself there.'"

Dry Year So Far for Big Island

"The flood channel that runs under the intersection of Kinoole and Mohouli streets in Hilo was dry Tuesday." Credit - Hollyn Johnson / Hawaii Tribune-Herald

"The flood channel that runs under the intersection of Kinoole and Mohouli streets in Hilo was dry Tuesday." Credit - Hollyn Johnson / Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Drier conditions, even on the wet side, means a higher potential for wildfire. You might live in the green, but when severe droughts occur, anywhere can be at risk for fire. Be prepared, have a plan, and stay vigilant using the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide and Wildfire Lookout!

From the Source:

"Hilo is on pace to have one of its drier years on record, and July’s rainfall totals brought little if any relief to drought-affected areas of the Big Island, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu."

"'It’s been pretty dry up on the Hamakua Coast and down into the the leeward South Kohala district. They’re considered to be under severe drought as well as the interior section of the Big Island. The eastern side of Pohakuloa Training Area has been pretty dry. The western side has been getting some spotty rain, so some of the gauges there are pretty close to normal,' Kodama said Monday.

The most recent drought statement from the weather service said ranchers in leeward South Kohala 'have destocked pastures' due to 'very poor vegetation conditions.' It noted that pastures in Ookala, where Big Island Dairy operates, and in Paauilo were becoming dry, and a ginger farmer in Umauma reported stunted growth in his crops."

French Riviera: 12,000 Flee Bushfires as Planes Waterbomb Popular Tourist Coast

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

We are wishing for the safety of all those in harm's way in France (as well as Portugal and Italy). 

From the Source:

"Backed by planes dropping water and fire retardant, more than 1,000 firefighters are battling bushfires billowing smoke into the sky over France's southern Cote d'Azur, forcing the evacuation of at least 12,000 people.

The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean Sea.

France's Prime Minister, visiting the area, predicted a grim day ahead.

Large swaths of Mediterranean forest had been left bare and blackened after three days of fires. About 250 trailer homes, a hangar, an atelier and several vehicles were burned in the blazes, but no-one had been injured so far, the prefect of the Var region said."

"In central Portugal on Wednesday, billowing smoke made visibility too poor to use water-dropping aircraft on the region's flaming pine and eucalyptus forests. More than 2,300 firefighters with more than 700 vehicles battled 13 blazes, with flames driven by powerful winds.

In Italy, where wildfires have raged for weeks, firefighters responded to 26 requests for water and fire retardant air crops on Tuesday throughout central and southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia.

The Coldiretti agriculture lobby said 50 million bees were destroyed along with their hives in fires on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Coldiretti said another 20 per cent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented by all the smoke and died as a result."

Witnesses Recount Waimea Blaze

Aerial view of Waimea fire. Credit: Hawaii Fire Department

Aerial view of Waimea fire. Credit: Hawaii Fire Department

We want to mahalo again the efforts of first responders for their efforts in keeping Waimea residents as safe as possible during the 2,000-plus acre brushfire. The number one priority is lives and safety and no people were injured during what could have been a much more destructive fire. However, we wish for a quick recovery for those impacted by the fire, including the woman who lost her home during the fire, Ms. Lindsey-Barkley who lost a couple sheep, and Parker Ranch who lost a great deal of water line and fencing. Many pets and livestock were evacuated safely during the fire. Having a pet and livestock evacuation plan is an important addition to your evacuation plan. You can find some of this information and more on wildfire readiness in the Ready Set Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

From the Source:

"The woman said she went back to the house to save her animals: two cats, a dog and a bunny. 

The resident said the owner of the land has 25 head of cattle and two horses. All were safely evacuated."

"Nahua Guilloz, senior manager for the ranch, said 11,000 linear feet of above-ground water line and 400 feet of linear fencing were burned."

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Restoring our forests has many positive outcomes, including bringing back rainwater to our parched landscapes and thus reducing wildfire risk. Native forests are also home to wildlife. We're excited to hear of the successful bird repopulation efforts of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge!

We will have an exciting silent auction item -- one of many -- at the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off on August 26 to go bird watching at Puʻu ʻOʻo. 

From the Source:

"Researchers used bird survey data collected over 26 years at the refuge to document how a diverse community of birds responded to the nearly 30 years of restoration efforts on the refuge. Their analysis revealed that most bird species increased in number throughout the restoration area, with the greatest increases detected in areas closest to intact forest where the density and diversity of understory shrubs was greatest."

"As temperatures rise with climate change, the area where the transmission of avian malaria is hindered by cooler temperatures will shrink, meaning the restoration of high-elevation forests may be one of the most important conservation tools to protect Hawaii’s native birds.

'We have a clearer picture of how we can facilitate expansion of particular bird species into reforestation areas by creating particular plant communities; this will help us ensure that Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge can continue to be a stronghold for Hawaiian forest birds,' said Kendall."

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)

Advancing FAC in Hawaii: Increasing Awareness, Thinking Both Short and Long Term and...Goats?

Click to Read the Blog Post

Click to Read the Blog Post

In 2015, we began working with several communities statewide on grassroots-level community wildfire protection efforts, primarily through Firewise’s communities recognition program. Only a few years later, we’re happy to say that our communities are seeing some great success! Find out how HWMO and its partners are working with communities to advance Fire Adapted Community goals in the latest highlight on the FAC Learning Network blog.

From the Source:

"These recommendations have already encouraged Firewise committees to start thinking outside of the box. For example, two years ago, Waikoloa Village received a fuels reduction grant from the USDA Forest Service. The village used the funds to hire a goat-grazing contractor to reduce flammable vegetation on vacant lots. As phase two of the project, the community will be installing permanent fence posts to allow for more regular grazing. Eventually, they may transform these lots into a multi-use area where goats continue to graze and the community also grows citrus trees.

These communities are also engaging residents through outreach. A few months ago, the Launiupoko Firewise committee sent over 300 copies of ReadySetGo! Wildland Fire Action Guides to residents. This spring, they will be hiring a contractor to remove flammable vegetation along an established bike path. Kahikinui, a small homestead in one of the most remote areas on Maui, worked tirelessly last year to engage neighboring large landowners and various agencies in their Firewise efforts. Their persistence and creativity led to a collaborative fuels mitigation project that received funding from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and a local wind farm."

Brush Fire Flares Up Across From Sandy Beach

KHON2 Screen Capture

KHON2 Screen Capture

It may be surreal to watch as horses are led through sidewalks of paved streets in an urban neighborhood, but that was the reality on Saturday, February 4th when a couple wildfires in East Oahu filled neighborhoods with smoke (and burned to the edge of a home). If you have pets or livestock on a property, follow the step-by-step evacuation plan checklist on pages 15-16 of the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

Personal recreational drones complicated the firefight for Honolulu Fire Department. Please make sure to keep drones out of the air during wildfires as they are a safety hazard for helicopters. A trending YouTube video is not worth risking the lives and safety of our firefighters and communities.

From the Source:

"There were tense moments for homeowners, with one house just feet away from the scorched ground. Firefighters were stationed nearby to safeguard homes.

HFD Capt. David Jenkins said the fire quickly grew “with the winds being variable and blowing in different directions, causing some impact on the fire.”

The fire was called contained at approximately 3:45 p.m. No homes were damaged or directly threatened by the fire, and there were no evacuation of residents.

Jenkins did say that the fire did go up and into Koko Crater and the stables were evacuated. None of the horses were injured."

Wind-Whipped Brush Fires Burn in Kalaeloa and Waianae

"Smoke is seen coming from a fire in the Kalaeloa area (Image: Carrie Cavallo)"

"Smoke is seen coming from a fire in the Kalaeloa area (Image: Carrie Cavallo)"

Having an evacuation plan for your business is just as important as having one for your household. Our hearts go out to those working or who own businesses in Kalaeloa and we hope all have made it out of the large brushfire safely.

From the Source:

"'We can't actually even go through the back road. It's blocked off and I guess the brush fire is actually making its way back to that side,' said truck driver Thomas Ramento.

'We have animals in the yard and we have employees back there. And I don't know how they're doing. They're not answering their phones,' said Joe Valdez, owner of Joel Trucking LLC.

The owner of Hawaii Extreme Paintball and Airsoft said he believes his business may be in jeopardy.

'The fire is on our end, it's heading to our place,' Bob Kahana said. 'We have a 50 by 50 wood structure, upstairs, downstairs. We have three different fields. Fire gets inside there, it would be totaled, devastating," he said.'"

'Good Neighbors' Help to Fight Fires in Remote Kahikinui Homestead

Excellent, in-depth article of the recent PFX Field Tour of Kahikinui, the community's history and past struggles with large wildfires, and the bright future ahead of them for their preparedness efforts. Mahalo to the Maui News for the great coverage and to Leeward Haleakala Watershed Partnership and Pacific Fire Exchange for coordinating the field tour.

From the Source:

"There have been some smaller meetings with the community and adjacent landowners in the past, but this was the first time so many people with such a broad range of experience and interest in collaboration came together that I'm aware of," said Andrea Buckman, coordinator for the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, who organized the event along with the Pacific Fire Exchange.

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

"In the meantime, grant funding is also an option for the community. One available program is the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface grant, which provides funding for projects related to fire education, planning and prevention. Through this grant, the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization already has $5,000 for a fuel reduction project in Kahikinui that must be matched by cash or volunteer hours."

"Currently, Kahikinui is working to become a certified Firewise Community through the help of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Pablo Beimler, the organization's community outreach coordinator, said that he expects Kahikinui to receive its certification by the end of the year. Being certified would help push Kahikinui higher on grant funding lists and could reduce insurance costs in the future, he said.

Trauernicht said that the prevention projects being considering 'are always cheaper in the long run' when compared to the costs of restoring forests, livestock fuel and homes."

Drought Intensifies in Hawaii, Extreme Conditions in Kona

Credit: United States Drought Monitor

El Niño is causing severe drought conditions in much of Hawaii Island and the rest of the state is now experiencing moderate drought. With dry conditions come the potential for wildfires. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure to remove all dead or dry grasses, shrubs, or trees around your home.

From the Source:

"'Farmers on the Kona slopes of the Big Island have indicated that conditions are the worst in recent memory,' the NWS stated, 'even including 2010 which was a significant drought year for the area. Kona coffee growers have indicated that the drought will adversely affect this year’s crop.'"

"There are troubling reports even in the normally wet Hilo and Puna districts. 'A rancher near Pahoa reported selling 20 percent of his herd due to poor pasture conditions,' the National Weather Service reported. 'Another rancher who works on the upper slopes of the South Hilo district reported the loss of 28 cows due to the lack of rain and the poor forage. In upper Hilo town, an aquaculture operation lost sturgeon because of low stream flow conditions.'"

Indonesia Uses Trained Elephants to Control Forest Fires

"In this Sunday, Nov. 10, 2015 photo, forestry officials ride on the back of an elephant as they patrol an area affected by forest fire in Siak, Riau province, Indonesia." (AP Photo/Rony Muharrman)

The elephant plays an important role in the lifestyles of many people in Southeast Asia - and in ways you might have never imagined. Elephants as part of a fire crew? Check.

From the Source:

"Officials in Indonesia are using trained elephants outfitted with water pumps and hoses to help control fires that have claimed vast amounts of forest while sending thick haze into neighboring countries.

For nearly three months, Riau province in East Sumatra has been blanketed by smoke from forest fires and land clearing, especially in peat-rich areas where flames are difficult to contain.

At the elephant conservation center in Siak district, 23 trained elephants are being used as 'forest watchdogs.'"

Rain Poses Unique Challenges for Ranchers

Credit: K. Kendall/Flickr

El Niño is having a particular impact on ranchers that may in turn impact fire behavior. Too much 'off and on' rainfall is creating grass that cattle have trouble digesting. A long period of drought during the winter won't help either. 

From the Source:

"Rain may be good for farmers, but the sporadic 'off and on' downpours Maui has seen in the last two months have some ranchers on edge.  Kaupo Ranch Manager Billy Ferreira said his cattle need to adjust to eating the green, moist grass.  In the short term, the high moisture content of the 'washy feed' could upset the stomachs of cattle.

What concerns him most is that the heavy rains now means a drier winter later.  Meteorologists say rain during the normally dry summer is likely the result of the El Nino effect that typically causes wetter-than-normal summers and drier winters. Ranchers like Ferreira worry a very dry winter could last until spring."

Scientists Prove Goats Are Better Than Chemical Weedkillers

Credit - Rodale Wellness

Credit - Rodale Wellness

We just completed a pilot project in Waikoloa Village in conjunction with the Waikoloa Village Association to remove hazardous fuels from within village vacant lots using...goats. Here's why we think controlled grazing with goats is an excellent option to reduce wildfire hazards within communities. 

From the Source:

"Not only are goats less toxic (obviously), but they're also much more affordable than chemical sprays...

The marshes aren't polluted with toxins, the farmers get a new source of income by renting out their livestock (and the goats get a free meal), and the land managers get a cheap fix for the issue. Plus, with a cheap, effective, and safe solution, the problems caused by the grasses can be solved quickly, allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful beach views again."

Waikoloa Breeze July 2015 - Goat Dozing and Future of WVA Owned Lands; Pohinahina

Click to enlarge.

We're featured in the Waikoloa Breeze's General Manager Report for July 2015. GM Roger Wehrsig of Waikoloa Village Association recaps our latest project clearing portions of association-owned lands within the Village using "goat-dozers." 

Also, check out our "Native Firewise Plant of the Month" section highlighting Pohinahina, a great Firewise ground-cover that also acts as a soil stabilizer and grows quite quickly in dry areas.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Waikoloa Breeze June 2015 - Wildfire Prep Day Review, Volunteer of Month, Goat Dozing

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This month's Waikoloa Breeze featured HWMO a number of times. 

1) Wildfire Prep Day recap (pg. 4)
2) Volunteer of the Month: Mark Gordon, Waikoloa CERT and active member of the Waikoloa Firewise Team. He has assisted in helping raise awareness for wildfires in the community, and has contributed to HWMO efforts through a variety of ways. Congratulations Mark! Thanks for all you do! (pg. 8)
3) Update on goat-dozing for fuels reduction within the community's vacant lots - a project we're helping fund and support. (pg. 24)

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Firefighters Contain 200-Acre Brush Fire in Kunia

“It’s very scary,” said one resident. “We are just kind of freaked out. Nothing like this is ever happened around here… We’re going to start packing just in case (we need to evacuate).”

A close call for this Kunia community is an important reminder to have an evacuation plan that includes everyone in the household, even your pets. 

Photo Courtesy of Dominique Dacanay

Photo Courtesy of Dominique Dacanay

From the Source:

“'My neighbor was actually on the roof. He could see and tell that it was pretty bad. I mean you didn’t have to be on the roof to see it that’s how high the flames,' said resident Wally Kumura."

"Crews got the call just after 6 p.m. Monday. The fire burned 200 acres north of the Royal Kunia subdivision."

"Marie Anderson rushed to her parents’ home to help take care of them and their dogs.

'I was fortunate because I was off tonight from work, so I was able to get here in time and just safety and secure and making sure everybody does stay safe,' she said."

Initial 2015 BioBlitz Results

We had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible event, as one of the outreach booths at the Cultural Festival. Find out more about what we did at the event.

From the Source:

"Student inventory. Photo credit: Chris Johns/National Geographic."

"Student inventory. Photo credit: Chris Johns/National Geographic."

"Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park held the ninth of 10 annual BioBlitz events over the weekend. The events are hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service and have spanned the entire country over the past decade. According to HVNP officials, the events are leading up the NPS’s centennial in 2016.

The 2015 event, which was a combined BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, hosted more than 6,000 people including more than 850 school-aged children. During the event, more than 170 scientists and traditional Hawaiian practitioners came together to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the plants, insects, mammals, birds, and other species that inhabit HVNP. Officials say the program gathers a 'vivid snapshot of the unique plant and animal biodiversity in the park.'"

"'The BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival presented an incredible opportunity to connect the community with leading scientists, international sister parks, and cultural practitioners this weekend,' said park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. 'This even embodies our National Park Service centennial mission to encourage everyone to Find Your Park – literally – by exploring and understanding our vital connection to our natural world.'