Puako Community Fuelbreak with layer of mulch that has proven successful at suppressing weed growth thus dramatically lowering maintenance costs.

Puako Community Fuelbreak

Location: Mauka side of Puako, Hawaii Island

What it protects: 3-mile stretch of homes and coastline

Project Partners: Puako Community Association

NOTE: You can click on the images below to enlarge them.

Puako Community Fuelbreak protects 3-miles of homes and precious coastline - a feeding grounds for the honu (Hawaiian sea turtle).

The fuelbreak protects homes from a thick kiawe forest that has posed a wildfire hazard for years with multiple-close calls for the village. 

The mulched break also protects the village from fine dust particles that either blow into people's homes or gets swept into the precious coral reef only a few hundred feet away.

Before mulch was applied to the break, these pesky fire-prone grasses kept re-emerging on the break...

...Here's what they look like up close.

The homes on the right now have a buffer of at least 100 feet from the tall kiawe forest. Although mulch is flammable, chipped wood is the least hazardous of mulches and makes for an easy fire to put out (rather than in the canopy of trees which requires expensive air support).

Peter Hackstedde (right), Puako Community Association President and HWMO Board of Director, was instrumental in getting the fuelbreak started and maintained. Access to firefighters has dramatically improved and we've have received numerous accolades and "mahalos" from various fire agencies, as a result.

Here's what the mulching process looks like (with Mr. Hackstedde in the middle of the action.)