Clay Trauernicht’s Wildland Fire Extension Program and the Pacific Fire Exchange organized a field trip on “Understanding Wildfire in Hawai‘i” for local lawmakers. Five State legislators and five staffers visited Palehua in the Waianae Mountains to enhance their understanding of Hawai‘i’s wildfire issues. They heard about the challenges and opportunities of wildfire management from agencies and programs working on wildfire risk reduction on O‘ahu and across the state, including county fire departments; the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife; Malama Learning Center; Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership; and landowners at Palehua, who have weathered multiple large fires on their lands over the past decade.
Recent California blazes have brought national attention to wildfires, but many people don’t realize that Hawai‘i is as affected by wildfires as the Western United States in terms of proportion of land area burned annually. Cost-efficient and effective wildfire management requires much more than putting fires out. Prevention, risk reduction, and post-fire response also form key aspects of reducing the negative impacts of fire on Hawai‘i’s communities and natural resources—important information that Natural Resources and Environmental Managements’ Trauernicht and his partners are sharing.
Sign up for the Pacific Fire Exchange’s First Annual Review of Wildfires webinar, scheduled at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 and check out other coming events.