Hot Off the Press!
We have just received 10,000 copies (that's 40 extremely heavy boxes) of the first ever Hawaii version of the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.
We encourage every household and landowner/manager in the state of Hawaii to get a hold of the guide.
In this Action Guide, we hope to provide tips and tools you need to prepare for a wildland fire threat (Ready), have situational awareness when a fire starts (Set), and to act early (Go!).
Contact us if you would like copies to distribute to your friends, family members, neighbors, or anyone else you can think of. We are also able to hold Ready, Set, Go! workshops upon request. Stay tuned for updates on upcoming workshops and events where we will be handing out the guides. Or, come by our office in Waimea (Kamuela) where we have boxes full of the guides!
Mahalo to IAFC for spearheading the collaboration and arranging for the massive print-job!
Wildfire Prep Day
Stay Hot on our
2014 California/Nevada/Hawaii Forest Fire Seminar & Training
When: April 9-11, 2014
Where: Waikoloa Beach Resort, Waikoloa
HWMO Booth Event
Earth & Ocean Festival
When: April 12, 2014, 9-3p
Where: Makaeo Pavilion, Old Kona Airport Park
HWMO Booth Event
Mauka to Makai Festival
A Watershed Stewardship Celebration
When: April 26, 2014, 2-6p
Where: Keokea Beach Park, Kapaau
HWMO Community Event
Wildfire Preparedness Day 2014
Waikoloa Dryland Safety Park
Fire Awareness and Work Day
When: May 3, 2014, 9a-3p
Where: Waikoloa Dryland Safety Park, Waikoloa
Hawai'i Conservation Conference
When: July 15-17, 2014
Where: Hawai'i Convention Center, Honolulu
Earth and Ocean Festival 4/12/14
HWMO and PFX hit the road for the Earth & Ocean Festival, which took place this year at the Makaeo Pavilion within the Old Kona Airport Park. The outreach event drew large crowds of people, many of whom stopped by the HWMO/PFX booth (over 120) to find out more about wildfires in Hawaii. Visitors of all ages payed close attention as Pablo Beimler, Education and Outreach Coordinator of HWMO and Coordination Assistant of PFX, explained Hawaii's wildfire issues and what HWMO and PFX are doing to address and mitigate those issues. Beimler handed out over 50 of the new Ready, Set, Go Hawaii Wildland Fire Action Guides among other HWMO products. He also distributed a couple dozen of PFX's first Fact Sheets about Wildfire in Hawaii, authored by Clay Trauernicht (Co-coordinator of PFX and Wildfire Extension Specialist at UH Manoa, CTAHR). The keiki came to the booth in droves until there weren't any more Smokey magnets, frisbees, and bag clips to give out.
Western State Fire Managers Meeting - Puako Community Fuelbreak Tour 3/19/14
Based on great feedback from a collaborative lessons learned PFX Field Tour held on June 25, 2013 at Mauna Kea State Park on Hawaii Island to review a 2011 fire that exhibited extreme behavior and threatened human lives and critical habitat, Wayne Ching of Hawaii Department of Land Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Fire decided to replicate the experience and discussion with Western State Fire Managers at their March meeting. The tour continued over to the Puako Community Fuelbreak where Peter Hackstedde, Puako Community Association President and a new addition to the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization Board of Directors spoke about the fuelbreak efforts. Elizabeth Pickett, Executive Director of Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, chimed in about HWMO's funding and assistance of the project. She also detailed the HWMO and PFX organizations as a whole and their strong partnership with one another. In addition, Elizabeth presented the newly created and delivered Ready, Set, Go! Hawaii Wildland Fire Action Guides and handed out copies to all of the managers, along with Overview Packets for HWMO and PFX. The group then took a driving tour through most of the fuelbreak, which runs 3 miles and borders along the entire Puako community, providing a buffer of at least 60-100 feet between houses and the mesquite (kiawe) forest.
Hawaii Community College (HCC) Career & Job Fair 3/17/14
HWMO and PFX spent the day in Hilo at the Hawaii Community College reaching out to the academic community about our wildfire efforts and the opportunities that exist in the wildfire and conservation realms. We were delighted to interact with a demographic that we aren't always able to target: college-aged students. Visitors were excited to learn about Hawaii's wildfire issues and what HWMO and PFX are doing to mitigate them. Many were interested in what job opportunities exist not just for HWMO and PFX, but in the wildfire and conservation world, as well. Interested students ranged from Agricultural Studies to Environmental Sciences to Fire Science. We also made valuable connections with UH faculty and staff members and Kamehameha Schools Career Academy, who were interested in partnering with HWMO and PFX to create job and internship opportunities for their students, and the Department of Health who was interested in connecting with HWMO for a Hawaii-specific Ready, Set, Go workshop tour. Stay tuned for job and internship opportunity postings and for our next booth event!
Field Tour of Leeward Wildfire Projects and Fire Prone Areas with Alex Friend (USFS PSW) 3/7/14
Through the Pacific Fire Exchange (PFX), Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization’s (HWMO) Elizabeth Pickett and Pablo Beimler and U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry’s (USFS PSW IPIF) Christian Giardina facilitated a field tour of leeward wildfire mitigation projects and fire-prone sites for the Station Director of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Alex Friend. The group first visited HWMO’s Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park, Hawaii’s only Firewise demo garden, located at the end of Melia St. in Waikoloa Village. The park demonstrates how to reduce the impacts of wildfires through defensible space landscaping and fire-resistant building materials. The garden primarily consists of low-maintenance, native Hawaiian species that are resistant to drought, wind, and heat. Pickett and Beimler led the site visitors through the freshly-weeded garden (HWMO had held a Community Work Morning that day), explaining all of the hard work that HWMO and its partners and community members have put into the project. The hard work had payed off, judging by the plethora of new blossoms emerging on many of the native dryland plants (including ‘Ihi, ‘Ilima papa, Pohinahina, and ‘Ulei). The garden has made a positive impact for the community by not only adding aesthetic value to the neighborhood, but also providing a learning space for Firewise principles that residents can directly apply to their own homes. HWMO is planning on further site visits, including for the upcoming CNH Seminar Forest Fire Seminar and Training on April 9th-11th, and holding a Wildfire Awareness, Prevention, and Work Day event for the first National Wildfire Prevention Day on May 3rd...(Click for rest of article)
Waikoloa Garden Community Work Morning 3/7/14
Sparked by enthusiastic, willing-to-work community members from Waikoloa Village, we held a work morning at our Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park at the end of Melia Pl. The most recent rain events have spurred our native plants to run wild and even blossom, creating a dynamic ecosystem that mirrors that of the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. Native plants such as 'Ihi, 'Ilima papa, 'Ulei, and Pohinahina are in full bloom and are definitely worth checking out. These native, drought-tolerant plants are not only worth planting for their beauty, but can also provide a living fuelbreak around your home. Where and when there is rain, however, there is other not so desirable growth. Community members have taken note of recent weedy arrivals and asked if they could help remove them. We could always use the help and gladly responded by holding a Community Work Morning. Our team of volunteers received some pointers on which weeds to pull out, as some of the "weeds" were actually native to Hawaii. During such hard work, we were all still able to share stories about wildfires experienced in Hawaii and the mainland. Monte Anglin, one of the volunteers and a resident near the garden explained what the Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park means to him: “It is really great to see some native plants and growth be developed and maintained anywhere in the state, but especially here in the dry area of Waikoloa. It’s just amazing. And the people that did the concept and tore out the old, messy, ugly stuff that was here a couple of years ago really need to be commended for the foresight and the energy to come forth and do this. I really appreciate it.”
Nahelehele Dryland Forest Symposium Poster Session 2/21/14
Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization and Pacific Fire Exchange partnered up to present a poster about Hawaii's wildfire problem at this year's Nahelehele Dryland Forest Symposium. A couple hundred people from a variety of different organizations involved in various degrees of conservation work attended the event, many of whom stopped by to visit our poster. Clay Trauernicht (UH Co-op Extension and PFX), Pablo Beimler (HWMO and PFX), and Ilene Grossman (HWMO) spoke to visitors about the many projects HWMO and PFX are involved in and how those projects are helping mitigate Hawaii's wildfire problem. One of the highlight's of the booth was the presentation of the most recent fire history maps, printed out on a large poster board. At one point, a retired HFD firefighter stopped by and interacted with the poster by sharing stories and lessons learned about specific points on the map. By teaming up for this year's Dryland Forest Symposium, PFX and HWMO are continuing to forge a stronger partnership in order to amplify our outreach efforts.
BIWCG Meeting 2/13/14
The Big Island Wildfire Coordinating Group (BIWCG) met for its quarterly meeting at the DOFAW office in Hilo. Members represented the following agencies: DOFAW, USFWS, HCC, HFD, NPS, Firewise Hawaii, HWMO, and PFX. Wayne Ching (DOFAW), lead organizer of this year's CNH Spring event kicked off the meeting with an update on the upcoming event's proceedings and logistics. Clay Trauernicht of PFX then gave a review of the recent Hawaii Wildfire Risk Assessment organized by Ching a few weeks ago. The risk assessment was developed for the 17 western-most states (including Hawaii and Alaska) using a variety of inputs such as fuel models, topography and historical ignition points. Clay emphasized that the most striking message from the assessment was that Hawaii showed the largest amount of burnable acres out of all 17 states. Such striking data and maps will be useful in conveying the severity of Hawaii's wildfire issue to community members, land managers, first responders, and decision-makers. The PFX team also presented the group with a rough draft of Trauernicht's Hawaii Wildfire Problem Statement in newsletter-type form along with a variety of new templates for upcoming PFX fact sheets. BIWCG members were enthusiastic and appreciative to see the work done by PFX and HWMO, which could not have been done without partner support. Elizabeth Pickett of PFX and HWMO and Clay Trauernicht of PFX and UH Co-op Extension were then invited to represent their respective agencies at the State Fire Council meeting to present the problem statement to the group.
West Maui CWPP Community Meetings 1/22-29/2014
West Maui is at a high risk of wildfire due to unmitigated fire fuels, limited community engagement in the wildfire issue, and under-addressed pre- and post-fire planning and preparedness. HWMO is taking a proactive approach to protect West Maui's natural resources and communities by developing a West Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) that will help secure funds for wildfire mitigation projects in the near future. CWPPs are unique in that they require a significant amount of community input and involvement. In order to understand, prioritize, and address community concerns and possible solutions, HWMO held a series of 6 community meetings in Lahaina, Wailuku, and Waihee. As part of a two-way communication process, HWMO shared information through a presentation about the CWPP and by displaying large maps of West Maui's fire history and subdivision-level hazard assessments (developed by HWMO). Towards the end of the meeting, members stood in front of a giant satellite image map of West Maui to place stickers on areas of significant interest (watersheds, their home, their favorite park, etc.). The meetings were a great success judging by the vast amount of in-depth input we received. We thank all of you who have taken part in the process! There are many more opportunities to take action as an interested community member as this is only the beginning of an ongoing process of addressing West Maui's wildfire issue.
Wildfire Preparedness Day 2014 at Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park
Thank you to the Waikoloa Breeze for highlighting our upcoming event: Wildfire Preparedness Day 2014 at the Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park at the end of Melia St. in Waikoloa!
Firefighters Battle Brush Fire in Wahiawa 3/24/14
"Honolulu firefighters are battling a brush fire in Wahiawa in the mountains above Helemano. Officials say the fire first sparked on state property last week, two-and-a-half miles past the end of the road at Helemano Military Reservation. Officials say the fire, which is currently an acre in size, is still smoldering. City and federal firefighters and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife will work until dusk to put it out." - KHON2
HWMO's 5 Tips for Upcoming Fire Season 3/1/14
Check out our latest PSA regarding how you can prepare for the upcoming fire season, courtesy of the Waikoloa Breeze. "There’s no prettier time to be living in Hawaii with the recent powdery snowfall on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and the hills becoming greener and greener each passing day. However, through our fire prevention lenses, there’s no better time to be mindful of the buildup of flammable vegetation that will pose a significant fire threat in the upcoming fire season. Here are five things to do around your home to reduce wildfire risk: - Limb your trees to within at least 6 feet off the ground to reduce “ladder fuels.” - Remove leaf litter and other debris that accumulate around the building, under vegetation, in gutters, and other collection areas. - Weed around the property regularly, especially areas that a lawn mower is not appropriate for (tall dry grasses, rocky terrain, etc.) - Remove flammable materials from underneath the house, decks, porches, and lanai. - Plant native, drought-tolerant plants around your home. By doing so, you can beautify your property while also protecting your home from wildfire ignition and spread, perpetuating an important natural and cultural resource, and requiring less maintenance. For examples of plants we recommend, you can visit our garden at the end of Melia St. " - Waikoloa Breeze
Hapuna Gets Beach Clean Up Station 3/1/14
Our young, enthusiastic Waikoloa Garden care-takers and fire experts from Ocean Warriors (Malama Kai Foundation) help install Beach Clean Up Stations at Hapuna Beach State Park. Mahalo for your hard work! "The wooden boxes contain heavy foil coffee bags, typically tossed by coffee shops but repurposed as garbage bags for beach users to pick up and fill with refuse. Pictures, drawn by area students, decorate the outside. Each station costs about $300 to make and install, Iglehart said.Maintaining the boxes, particularly replenishing the stock of coffee bags, is a task that will fall to volunteers. Several groups of volunteers have already stepped up, Iglehart said, including the Malama Kai Foundation’s Ocean Warriors project, which designed and built the boxes, collected the coffee bags, designed and printed informational signs and created the artwork to decorate the boxes. The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel has been saving coffee bags for about a year to donate to the project, Iglehart said. Several other community groups and some high school students in South Kohala have expressed interest in helping restock the boxes, she added. 'It has been such a fun and rewarding opportunity for the Ocean Warriors students to be involved in a project that highlights their involvement in marine protection and their artwork, and also provides important information to members of their own community about how most marine debris begins as beach litter — something we can do our part to help,' Malama Kai Foundation’s Elizabeth Pickett said in an email." ” - West Hawaii Today
My Job: Battling Invasive Species in Hawaii 3/1/14
System planner for the Hawaii Natural Area Reserves System, Emma Yuen, mentions wildfire as one of the biggest challenges that Hawaii faces. "Biggest Challenge: The environment is often underfunded and there is enormous pressure from invasive species and wildfire in Hawaii." "Quote: Hawaii’s forests are not only beautiful and important for tourism, but they are critical for stopping erosion and retaining our water supply, economic benefits that a lot of people don’t know about.” - Hawaii Business
Public Input Sought for West Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan 1/16/14
The buzz for the West Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan community meetings this month keeps building! "Lance De Silva, Maui forest management supervisor with the state Department of Land & Natural Resources' Division of Forestry and Wildlife, emphasized 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 West Maui, 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.' Elizabeth Pickett, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization executive director, said 'CWPPs are meant to tie into existing or planned projects. 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 West Maui'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.'" - Lahaina News
Killing with Kindness 12/31/13
A nice example of a large landowner in Oahu taking charge and being a steward of his own land by reviving native or noninvasive plants and, in turn, animals: "Already, these three and various other volunteers seem to be making a difference: there are signs of hope in the forest. In meadows thinned of invasive trees and shrubs, new shoots of indigenous koa trees are sprouting, along with the flowering mountain naupaka and the palaa fern. The bright yellow kookoolau, a flower found only in Hawaii, is flourishing here, too... Still, Mr. Zweng worries about his own mortality and how many years he has left to work in the forest. He dreams of the day the land is restored enough that he might see a bright red apapane or an orange-and-red iiwi, native birds that haven’t been in evidence in the valley for years. Because in all likelihood, he said, the true verdict on his work will come not from environmentalists or the community, but from nature: 'Nature will tell us we’ve made a difference.'"" - New York Times
Big Island Brush Fire Contained 11/26/13
"State firefighters have contained a wildfire that burned nearly 600 acres on the Big Island. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Tuesday the grassland fire in the Puu Anahulu Game Management Area was fully contained by noon." - Hawaii News Now
VIDEO: Navy and Guam Fire Department Partner to Extinguish Weekend Grass Fire 4/7/14
Wildfires continue to ravage Guam, further exposing the need to ramp up prevention and mitigation efforts there. From the Source: "Navy Sailors and civilian firefighters partnered with the Guam Fire Department to extinguish a grassfire that affected approximately 20 acres of land on Nimitz Hill April 5-6. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 deployed a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter that conducted five daytime and five nighttime water drops while three U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Fire and Emergency Services (FES) crews fought the fire on the ground alongside Guam Fire Department counterparts. 'The dedication and professionalism of the pilots and crew of HSC-25 attest to the Navy’s commitment to preserve life and property,' said Joint Region Marianas Chief of Staff Capt. Mark Scovill. 'The day and night trainings they consistently conduct around the island prepare the crew to respond to emergencies such as the recent grassfires.' Continuous training proved beneficial to the community as the blaze was extinguished preventing evacuation of nearby residents and damage to structures." - Pacific News Center
USDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs Sign-Up Begins April 15 for Livestock, Honeybee, Fruit Grower Programs 4/7/14
If you are a livestock producer, honeybee keeper, or fruit grower who has suffered grazing losses due to wildfire or other weather-related disasters on publicly managed land, you may qualify for these new Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs: From the Source: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA. 'These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. ʻPresident Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them...' ...The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP)." - USDA
Hunters Suspected in Talofofo Fire: Smoke From Inarajan Blaze Shuts School 4/3/14
Brush and grass fires are becoming more and more frequent not just in Hawaii but also throughout the Pacific. Case and point, firefighters in Guam have responded to 70 grass fires in March alone! We are excited to be a part of Pacific Fire Exchangeʻs upcoming projects in Guam (and Palau and Yap) to address their wildfire issues and what can be done to mitigate them. From the Source: "Officials with the Guam Fire Department believe a fire that burned private land near Talofofo Falls Resort Park may have been started intentionally. Firefighters battled that blaze and a separate fire in Inarajan yesterday afternoon. The Inarajan fire burned a small area of land down the hill from Inarajan Middle School, prompting an evacuation of the campus… Local and federal fire officials have called on residents for help in minimizing grass fires. Artero has said residents shouldn't burn trash at their homes. Guam's fire hazard rating currently is in critical and is expected to remain at that level for at least a few more months. In March, firefighters responded to more than 70 grass fires. Fire officials noted their belief that at least a few of those fires also were started by people." - Guam PDN
Wildfire Preparedness Day Project Funding Recipients Announced 4/1/14
We are very excited about being one of the twenty recipients of the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project funding awards and want to thank State Farm for the generous contribution! Hope you can make it out to our event on May 3rd at the Waikoloa Dryland Wildfire Safety Park at the end of Melia St. in Waikoloa Village. From the Source: "Over the past five weeks, I watched as entries for the nationwide Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project funding awards grew to represent twenty five states ranging from Florida to Alaska. Each project entry had the potential to become a recipient of $500 to be used for a preparedness related activity implemented on May 3, 2014 - with funding generously provided by State Farm. Every single project submission had its own distinct merits and each would make a significant contribution in reducing the wildfire risk in their respective communities. The diverse range and scope of entries made the selection process extremely difficult and trying to narrow it down to only twenty was daunting. Winning project recipients come from 15 states and cover an extremely wide range of demographics, community sizes and wildland/urban interface descriptions. If I can please get a drum roll, let me say that on behalf of NFPA and State Farm, I am honored to share with you the 2014 Wildfire Preparedness Day funding award recipients: Fallbrook, CA; Quincy, CA; Valley Center, CA; Durango, CO; Chickamauga, GA; Kamuela, HI; Manhattan, KS; Nye, MT; Newcomerstown, OH; Brent, OK; Grants Pass, OR; La Pine, OR; North Myrtle Beach, SC; Tallassee, TN; Austin TX; Georgetown, TX; Etlan, VA; Castle Valley, UT; Ronald, WA and Spokane, WA. Huge congratulations to them all! The nationwide grassroots efforts being coordinated for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day demonstrates the efforts thousands of communities are committed to making in reducing their wildfire risk, the impacts of a recent wildfire, or advancing preparedness efforts." - Firebreak
Highlights of Hawaii's WUI-Funded Successes 4/2/14
Mahalo to Western Forestry Leadership Coalition & Council of Western State Foresters for highlighting HWMO's WUI-funded successes! This is exciting to see given our effort with all of our partners to increase the visibility of Hawaii's wildfire issues and wildfire mitigation project accomplishments. From the Source: "Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) utilized funding from the Wildland Urban Interface Grant Program, matched with state dollars, to create fuelbreaks to protect communities." - WFLC
Firefighters Sing 'Let It Go' to Calm Scared Child During Rescue 3/27/14
Another example of how wonderful, adaptable, clever, and humorous firefighters can be! 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 became 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."
Western Wildfire Season 'Likely to Set a Record' 2/20/14
"The number of wildfires has increased over the years. In the 1980s, wildfires burned on average 2.98 million acres a year in the U.S. However, between 2003 and 2012, an average of 7.26 million acres burned each year. The average length of the annual fire season has grown by 78 days over the last four decades. Also almost certain to grow is the cost of battling wildfires. National costs have averaged $1.8 billion annually for the past five years, and the 2012 fire season was among the most expensive on record for many regions and states, according to Headwater Economics, a nonprofit research group... 'Because they aren't getting any water, the trees are in danger and won't survive, creating more fuel for fires,' [Malcolm North, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service] said. North added that the level of destruction this year's fire season brings will depend a lot on luck. 'All we can do is hope for more rain and hope we get some," he said. "But we've had years of dry conditions, so it will take a lot of rain for a long time to prevent the fires.'" - CNBC
Cal Fire Begins Defensible Space Inspections Early Because of Drought 3/7/14
It's never too early to take preventative measures, especially considering the predicted giant wildfire season this year. Contact us at Hawaii Wildfire if you would like us to conduct a defensible space home assessment. From the Source: "Cal Fire has battled more than 650 fires so far this year, more than triple the average, as a result of the dry conditions from the drought. Normally, the total number of fires in January and February is 200, according to Cal Fire. Cal Fire started inspecting homes in high-risk areas this week, ensuring people are maintaining at least 100 feet of defensible space around their homes. 'This year, we’re doing that several months earlier because of that increased fire threat that we’ve been seeing across the state,' spokesman Daniel Berlant said. Fire inspectors are asking people to remove flammable vegetation, space out trees and plants and trim branches, among other things, to create a buffer zone around their homes and to help out firefighters." - KCRA
Rains Ease Calif. Drought, Make Wildfire Outlook Grimmer 3/6/14
Hawai'i is facing a similar issue, especially on the leeward sides. The lush greens emerging from mauka to makai may look beautiful, but once they dry out, they will become large loads of fuel for potential wildfires. From the Source: "The cruel irony is that the much-needed moisture may end up making a wildfire season expected to be catastrophic even worse than it would have been if the region had stayed completely dry. 'The initial impact will be to dampen the immediate impact of fires,' said Drought Monitor author Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.. 'But this rain will be enough to promote spring growth of vegetation that may otherwise have been dormant because of the drought. There may actually be more to burn, at least the lighter fuels, than if it had stayed dry all the way through.' Grasses will sprout and grow because of the rains, then they’ll quickly dry out and provide easy fuel for a major wildfire, he said."