fire in the arts

Family Behind Hawaiian Fire-Throwing Ritual Apologizes for Brush Fire

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

We commend the family who accidentally ignited the fire for taking the courage and responsibility for publically apologizing for their actions. We deeply respect that reviving ancient cultural practices is important, but it is still critical to be aware of your surroundings and dry/windy conditions whether building an imu or practicing ʻOahi O Makana. Vegetation and climate conditions have changed drastically over the centuries (even more so in the past few decades). Many wet forests were once ecosystems covered with native forests that had very few wildfire occurrences if any. However, much of these forests have been taken over by much more fire-prone, invasive species and have experienced more and more days of drier conditions than before. We must continue to adapt to these changing conditions whether it is through vegetation control methods or cultural practices, etc. This fire will hopefully continue these important conversations. We are interested to hear your thoughts. Please share your comments below.

From the Source:

"'It wasn't an intention to start anything to hurt anybody or to stop any roads. There was never that intention. If that happened on behalf of the family we apologize,' McCarthy said.

Ancient Hawaiians held the ceremony to mark great occasions and special ceremonies.

'This is something they mentally, physically have to prepare themselves for,' McCarthy said.

The pair carried Hau branches to light, twirl and throw. McCarthy thinks wind grabbed the embers and blew them back onto the mountain."

Makana Fire on Kauai Likely Caused by Hawaiian Fire-Throwing Ritual

Credit: DLNR

Credit: DLNR

Stay updated on the Makana Fire:

Dry conditions statewide - be fire safe by visiting Wildfire Lookout!

From the Source:

"Photos taken Tuesday evening on Kauai depict ‘Oahi O Makana – a ceremony in which a flaming spear is thrown from cliffs high above sea level – as part of a welcoming ritual for the voyaging canoe Hokulea.

Firefighters from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources remain on the scene of the fire, which has grown to approximately 100 square acres. Authorities say the blaze is burning between Haena State Park and Limahuli Gardens.

The park remains closed to visitors, as does access to the popular Kalalau Trail. Park officials say rangers are posted at the hike's trailhead and are turning would-be adventure-goers around."

"'About 90% of the state has been in drought conditions since July so we've sort of been watching the weather and known that it's been primed for fires to start. but it's just been the past week that we've seen the activity kind of spike,' said Clay Trauernicht, a wildfire specialist with the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension."

Firefighter Chili Cook-Off Spices Things Up in Waimea

PTA Fire Chief Eric Moller serves their recipe to Connie Bender at the Chili Cook-Off for Wildfire Prevention Saturday at the Parker Ranch Red Barn. (Laura Ruminski-West Hawaii Today)

PTA Fire Chief Eric Moller serves their recipe to Connie Bender at the Chili Cook-Off for Wildfire Prevention Saturday at the Parker Ranch Red Barn. (Laura Ruminski-West Hawaii Today)

We are ecstatic to see that the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off made the front page of the West Hawaii Today on Monday, August 28! Thank you to everyone who made the cook-off such a wonderful event and successful fundraiser. You can also read more by checking out our blog post.

From the Source:

"The sold out fundraiser for the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) was attended by over 200 guests who sampled and voted for their favorite chili recipe.

HWMO’s mission is dedicated to proactive and collaborative wildfire related education, outreach and technical assistance, project implementation and research.

Money raised will go to the nonprofit organization’s operating costs, according to Pablo Beimler, Community Outreach Coordinator.

Beimler said 25,000 flyers recently went out to students across the state as part of their school outreach, and coloring books are on their way."

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)

Wildfire Season Rages On at University Museum of Art (Audio)

Art is not only a medium of self-expression, but also an important way to convey messages to the general public. Science and art are also not mutually exclusive.

Bryan David Griffith, Broken Equilibrium and Reconstruction. PHOTO: Tom Alexander, Courtesy of the University of Arizona Museum of Art

Bryan David Griffith, Broken Equilibrium and Reconstruction. PHOTO: Tom Alexander, Courtesy of the University of Arizona Museum of Art

From the Source:

"Wildfire season has officially comes to a close, but it roars on at the University of Arizona Museum of Art's 'Fires of Change' exhibit, featuring the work of 11 artists.

Before they started to work on their pieces, the artists spent a week with scientists learning about fires in the forests of Northern Arizona in what museum officials call a wildfire bootcamp."

"Miller said the exhibition doesn’t dwell on the destructive force of fire.

"But as a necessary part of the forest ecosystem that’s all part of the rejuvenation of the forest, and the more humans suppress fires, the more catastrophic they become," she said.

The 11 artists worked across a range of mediums: installation, film, sculpture, even quilting."

Waimea Wildfire Management Group Co-Hosts Fundraiser

From the Source

"For more than 10 years, the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, a nonprofit organization based in Waimea, has been on a mission to protect Hawaii’s communities and natural resources from the growing threat of wildfires.

Hawaii’s proportion of land area burned each year has either matched or exceeded that of any of the fire-prone Western U.S. states. The impacts of wildfire range from human safety and native forest destruction, to coral reef smothering caused by post-fire erosion and run-off.

Since 98 percent of wildfires in Hawaii are caused by humans and many are caused accidentally, we can all work together to help solve this issue by spreading the word about wildfires and the ways we can prevent them and protect our families, communities, and lands.

To get involved and offer kokua, Hawaii Wildfire is teaming with the Rotary Club of Kona and Denny’s to host Project Compassion from 4-9 p.m. Sunday at Denny’s Restaurant in Kona. With the public’s support, Hawaii Wildfire can continue its mission and expand its outreach efforts. The organization will receive 20 percent of the food and beverage sales and 100 percent of guest servers’ tips."


HWMO and its partners at Wildfire Prep Day 2014.

HWMO and its partners at Wildfire Prep Day 2014.

Da Glow of Mem'ry

Wildfire is a complex issue with many components - everyone has their own perspective about it. Here's an interesting, creative piece written by a local actress, storyteller, and cofounder of Manaʻo Radio named Kathy Collins (a.k.a. Tita).

From the Source: 

"Ho boy, dis cane burnin’ contra-versy get me all mix up. My head an’ my heart stay leanin’ opposite ways. My head know dat smokin’ is bad fo’ yo’ health. Ev’rybody know dat, even da guys who smoke. An’ even if cane smoke not da same as cigarette smoke, I t’ink any kine smoke not good. Dass jus’ common sense. An’ yet, in all da time I wen’ grow up ovah here, I no remembah evah getting sick from da cane fire smoke. All my fam’ly an’ friends too, same t’ing. Even my grandfaddah, who used to clean da humongous smokestacks at da sugar mill, he nevah did get da kine lung problems in his whole life. An’ he wen’ live till ninety. So even if I know in my head dat da cane fire smoke is bad, my heart no believe.

Growin’ up on Maui, cane burnin’ was jus’ one noddah part a life, like mango season, or wintah surf, or da Civil Dafense warning sirens dat go off on da firs’ workin’ day of da month. Nobody talk about changin’ ‘em. Dass jus’ how was.

Once in a while, my faddah would grumble about da cane fires, but wasn’t da smoke dat wen’ boddah him, was da Maui snow. When da wind blow one certain way, da black ash would come float inside da garage, an’ den my faddah had to hose off da garage floor, ‘cause da ash too light fo’ sweep. Sometimes my maddah, too, would grumble when da HC&S guy come around, door to door, wit’ da pepa dat tell us goin’ get cane fire da next day. No can wash clothes on burn days, unless you like black streaks all ovah yo’ stuffs. Me, I was happy, ‘cause hangin’ up da laundry was my job..."

Above: Credit - Maui Magazine

Above: Credit - Maui Magazine

Firefighters Sign 'Let it Go' to Calm Scared Child During Rescue (VIDEO)

Another example of how wonderfully adaptable, clever, and humorous firefighters can be! A nice break from the grim fire outlooks.

From the Source:

"These Massachusetts firemen found a unique (and adorable) way to soothe a little girl while rescuing her and her family from a stuck elevator shaft.

Last week, Kaelyn Kerr, 4, was headed to a hair appointment with her mother and baby brother when they become trapped in an elevator, Today reported. The only way out was up a ladder and over a high wall, and little Kaelyn became frightened.

That's when one of the firefighters began talking to the child about the hit Disney movie "Frozen" to distract her, and the other played the famous song from the film, "Let It Go," on his cell phone. Soon, they were both serenading Kaelyn.

"It worked, we got her to a point where she was comfortable with us and up the ladder we went, right up and over, no problem," firefighter John Keough said to Fox 59."

Above: Courtesy of Huffington Post

Above: Courtesy of Huffington Post