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

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.”

Hokukano Ranch Fire Burns 350 Acres

Hokukano Ranch fire as detected by NASA satellite.

Hokukano Ranch fire as detected by NASA satellite.

From the Source:

Firefighters are working to douse a brush fire ignited by lightning Sunday afternoon in a remote area of Hokukano Ranch.

Responding to a 2:04 p.m. report, firefighters from Captain Cook arrived at the scene 7 miles up Hokukano Ranch Road to find two moderate-sized brush fires burning about 50 acres in a very remote area with no radio or phone coverage, according to a media release from the Hawaii Fire Department. The department noted that someone witnessed lightning strikes in the area around the time the fire started.

Wai Watchers: The Vital Role of Volunteers in Watershed Health

"Dedicated Makai Watch Volunteer James Heacock (clipboard) has been doing surveys for 10 years. Here, he surveys the coast with fisherman Kawika Auld." Photo courtesy of Christine Shepard

"Dedicated Makai Watch Volunteer James Heacock (clipboard) has been doing surveys for 10 years. Here, he surveys the coast with fisherman Kawika Auld." Photo courtesy of Christine Shepard

What does it take to protect an entire watershed? Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. Great feature in Ke Ola Magazine highlighting South Kohala Coastal Partnership efforts - we are proud to be a part of such a solid partnership!

From the Source:

The South Kohala Coastal Partnership is composed of over 70 participants including 30 state and local experts such as biologists, kūpuna, cultural practitioners, teachers, fishermen, coastal business owners, land managers, resort representatives, and more. Together they tackle everything from land-based sources of pollution, to unsustainable fishing practices, to invasive species. Community participation has provided essential people-power for data collection and projects supporting this work.

The reefs located at the bottom of Kohala Mountain reflect what happens at higher elevations. Over the centuries, events such as the historic harvest of sandalwood, the introduction of species like goats, overgrazing by cattle, fires, and floods have converted much of the once-forested mountain into grassland and denuded landscapes. Without roots, ferns, and mosses to catch and hold the heavy rains, acres of bare soil wash downstream. This erosion buries corals in sediment and reduces the reef’s once-rich diversity of fish and invertebrates. Did you know that each grain of sediment can be re-suspended 10,000 times by waves, blocking light and re-smothering coral over and over? Agencies like The Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization and The Kohala Center are working in partnership with landowners and ranchers to reduce this impact up-slope.


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

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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."

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."

Clean-Up Efforts Underway in Waimea Following 2,200 Acre Brush Fire

"Land is visibly charred near Highway 190 in Waimea Saturday. Friday's runaway brush fire Friday burned 2,200-acres, destroyed a home and closed the highway for several hours." Credit: Tom Callis / Hawaii Tribune Herald

"Land is visibly charred near Highway 190 in Waimea Saturday. Friday's runaway brush fire Friday burned 2,200-acres, destroyed a home and closed the highway for several hours." Credit: Tom Callis / Hawaii Tribune Herald

Our hearts go out to the residents who lost their home during Friday's runaway brushfire in Waimea that burned 2,200 acres of land. Fortunately, no one was injured but one lost home affects our whole community. We also wish Parker Ranch the best for its recovery after losing several miles of water line and fencing and other infrastructure (as well as grazing land). Parker Ranch has been a long-time partner of HWMO's and they are a major event sponsor for the upcoming Firefighter Chili Cook-Off benefit on August 26th. 

From the Source:

“'As to why it started, and how it started, we don’t know. We have a burn ban in West Hawaii, so no one should be burning anything, so on that part, it’s illegal, but I don’t think it was an intentionally set brush fire.'"

"'It burned around (2,200 acres), and we’re expecting most of that to be ours,” Guilloz said. 'We had several miles of water line burned and fencing as well that has been burned. They were able to save most of our water tanks, but right now we’re still (assessing).'"

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."

'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.'"

Small Structure Burns Down in Waimea Fire

Photo Credit: Keoni Delacruz Veloria

A wildfire in Waimea (Kamuela), our home base, burned 125 acres of pastureland and burned down a structure that supported power to a nearby residence on Monday, March 28th. Creating defensible space not only around the home, but around all structures is very important for wildfire readiness purposes. We are glad to hear no one was injured and no homes were lost thanks to firefighter efforts!

From the Source:

"Weather conditions on the island haven't helped the situation, and residents shouldn't look for those conditions to improve markedly any time soon.

Maureen Ballard, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said a front is situated over Maui County but is dissipating as it moves along -- limiting its potential to generate rainfall. She added that there are likely trade winds to follow, but they will be drier trades, probably creating only a few lighter afternoon showers.

Oahu Hit Hard By Wildfires, Study Finds

Drs. Clay Trauernicht and Creighton Litton (both at University of Hawaii, CTAHR) gave excellent interviews regarding wildfires in Hawaii and the threats they pose on people and landscapes. Honolulu Star-Advertiser placed the story front and center on their Sunday paper and Hawaii Public Radio filled the airwaves about the scale and scope of Hawaii’s wildfire issues— information likely new to much of their audiences.  

In addition to Trauernicht and Litton of UH CTAHR, Elizabeth Pickett of HWMO was a co-author, along with Christian Giardina and Susan Cordell of the US Forest Service, and Andrew Beavers at the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University. HWMO created the database and fire history map that was the foundation of the research.  The research article can be found here:'i_1

"Firefighters battled a brush fire in upper Makakilo in August 2014. Authorities later determined that the fire was started by two boys playing with a lighter." (Krystle Marcellus/Honolulu Star Advertiser)

From the Source:

"'People don’t typically think of wildfire as a frequent disturbance on tropical islands,' said Trauernicht in a UH release Friday.

But between 2005 and 2011, there were about 1,007 wildfires statewide that burned an average of about 20,000 acres, the researchers found.

A 108-year history showed a more-than-fourfold increase in acreage burned annually statewide, they found."

"'Oahu is off the charts,' he said, adding that Maui averaged about 200 wildfires annually."

"Observers say in Hawaii, more homes being built near open brush land sometimes force firefighters to place themselves dangerously between the fires and houses."

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

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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.

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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

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.

Waikoloa Breeze - Goat Dozing in Empty Lots; Waikoloa Action Team Notice

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From the Source:

"Also of concern is the growth that is occurring on the interior parcels owned by the Association. We have secured funding from the Hawaii Wildfire [Management] Organization and the Board has approved a test clearing of one of the interior WVA lots within the Village using domesticated goats. This would include temporary fencing of the parcel or section of the parcel and the placement of domesticated goats within the fenced area to eat down the vegetation...this form of cleaning is very ecologically friendly and would be in lieu of noise from weed whackers, chain saws and use of herbicides." - Roger Wehrsig, General Manager, Waikoloa Village Association

Navajo's Assayii Lake Fire: Heartbreaking Losses, and How to Help

Learn how you can help those who have lost an important piece of their livelihoods:

From the Source: 

"Firefighters are making headway against the Assayii Lake Fire, but not before it gobbled up acre upon acre of sacred land in the Chuska Mountains between Gallup and Shiprock.The Assayii fire on the Navajo Nation had been 20 percent contained by Thursday June 19, as the blaze reached 13,450 acres, and 867 personnel battled the flames, according toInciWeb. But the victory is destined to be bittersweet.

Though no one has died, the toll is still great. Members of two communities had been evacuated, and at least 13 summer sheep camps had been destroyed, according to the Navajo Times.

'We’re going to be losing everything and our memories will be gone,” Elvina Yazzie told theNavajo Times on June 16 after driving her family’s flock of 28 sheep down the mountain with the help of her nephew, Nelvin Yazzie. “It just hurts because our grandparents built that hogan.'

Donations are being accepted at several chapter houses, Navajo Nation Emergency Management Director Rose Whitehair told the Navajo Times. The Crystal Chapter House, Naschitti Chapter House, Shiprock Chapter House, Fort Defiance Field House (Home Base), Tohatchi High School Gymnasium and Newcomb School are looking for flour, potatoes, eggs, paperware (bowls, plates, utensils, cups) Zip-lock bags, disposable gloves, oil, salt, baking powder, dish towels, steel knives, pots, pans, napkins, coffee, Kool-Aid and ice tea mix, power bars, cold cuts, bread, soda, water, juice, pitchers for Kool-Aid, canned food and boxes for food storage, according to theNavajo Times. The American Red Cross is fielding financial donations and offering other aid.

'Officials are asking that those donating items refrain from too much sugar products and also to be aware of the expiration dates,' the Navajo Times stated."

Above: "A weary firefighter prays between bouts with the Assayii Lake Fire in the sacred Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation." Credit: Neil Damon

Above: "A weary firefighter prays between bouts with the Assayii Lake Fire in the sacred Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation." Credit: Neil Damon