Fire Fighter

  • 20 September 2018
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 6878
Fire Fighter

Clay Trauernicht (NREM) recently published an article in Civil Beat’s “Community Voices” forum entitled “Fire Is the One Hawaii Disaster We Can Avoid.” As he explains, there’s nothing people can do to prevent many of the natural disasters that have hit our state in the past few months. However, there is one natural crisis that we can prevent, and that is wildfire. Unlike in some other states, human-caused ignitions such as cigarettes, campfires, and electrical sparks cause 99 percent of the fires in Hawai‘i. But although people need to be more careful about not starting wildland fires, it’s even more important to work on other areas of prevention. One of the biggest contributors to wildfire is vegetation. Non-native grasses and shrubs cover about a million acres statewide, Clay notes; this is in large part due to the decline in agricultural production and ranching. As he explains, “We have the knowledge to protect the resources we value—our homes and watershed forests—but this requires both systematically analyzing the risk and, more importantly, developing the public support and political will to make these actions feasible.… The simple fact remains that, unlike the hurricanes and volcanoes, these fires are the one disaster we can avoid. We must simply choose to do so.”