The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, in collaboration with Kauai Fire Department, Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and Kauai Civil Defense Agency agencies, will hold community input meetings to develop a Kauai Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Meetings will be held at the following locations and times:
Mon, March 23, 6-7pm – Kilauea – Kilauea Elementary School, 2440 Kolo Rd.
Tues, March 24, 6-7pm – Waimea – Waimea Canyon Middle School, 9555 Huakai Rd.
Wed, March 25, 6-7pm - Lihue – Wilcox Elementary School, 4319 Hardy St.
Wildfires have great impacts on Kauai residents and natural resources, affecting:
- Daily life (road closures, traffic, evacuations, post-fire flooding, tax payer dollars)
- Human health and safety (dust, smoke, water quality, burned homes and structures, resident and firefighter safety)
- Ecosystem health and resilience (watersheds, forests, coral reefs, fisheries)
The CWPP process relies on community input for preparing and protecting fire-prone areas from wildfires. The CWPP meetings will identify and prioritize projects to reduce the threat of wildfire to Kauai communities. All full-time and part-time residents are encouraged to attend.
CWPPs are a great planning tool for communities and have become a prerequisite in order to receive federal funding for wildfire protection projects. A CWPP assists a community in identifying and prioritizing areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments, and supports communities to take action. The plan assesses values at risk such as safety, natural resource protection, recreation, scenic values, and economic issues. CWPPs are a collaborative effort with input from community members, firefighting agencies, and related organizations. These plans are becoming increasingly important in Hawaii. They bring wildfire hazard information and planning/action opportunities to all who are affected, making it possible to more effectively address wildfire. As drought episodes increase and land use continues to change, working at all levels to mitigate wildfire is becoming essential.
Fire Chief Robert Westerman of the Kauai Fire Department (HFD) states, “The best defense against the effects of a wildland fire is prevention. The KFD stands ready to respond to the needs of our community through prevention and collaborative efforts to reduce the threat of wildland fires. We support the efforts of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization by responding to wildland fires and providing fire prevention and preparation assistance.”
Patrick Porter, Kauai Forest Management Supervisor with DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, points out that a CWPP isn’t just another federal study. “A CWPP is a community-based ‘roots’ process to outline wildfire risks to a community and to catalyze projects that can reduce those risks. In Kauai, we need to reduce our risks from mauka to makai. This is an important opportunity for communities to have a say over the priorities in the plan and to seek funds for the wildfire mitigation projects that residents themselves identify. Invest your time to protect your investments.”
“CWPPs are meant to tie into existing or planned projects,” says Elizabeth Pickett, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization Executive Director. “Many communities are developing disaster plans or long-range community plans, and the CWPP is meant to complement those plans. It will be a useful tool for community members to help make Kauai’s neighborhoods and natural areas fire-safe. Wildfires tie into many natural resource, municipal, and community issues, so this is an important opportunity for communities to learn, have their voices heard, and get involved.”
Banner photo: DOFAW and KFD representatives add their input during an agency meeting for the CWPP update.