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Wildfire Preparedness Workshops to go island-wide


Hawaii is no stranger to its residents experiencing close calls with wildfires. In recent years, large fires have occurred in North and South Kohala, North and South Kona, and Ka’u. Of note, the Waikoloa Fires of 2005 and 2007 would have engulfed the town of Waikoloa Village had first responders not been able to defend the village along its recently completed firebreaks. Every family, resident, and large landowner can avoid the danger and impacts of wildfire with adequate preparation.

Unlike other natural hazards, wildfire is unique in that there are many things you can do ahead of time to reduce your risk of losing property or loved ones. Residents can take charge by strategically reducing vegetation around homes, fire-proofing homes and structures with non-combustible materials, and creating and practicing a thorough family emergency plan.

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Waimea, will be hosting a series of free community wildfire preparedness workshops in some of the most fire-prone areas of the Big Island. Those who attend will learn about Hawaii’s wildfire issues and how they can mitigate those issues through proper home landscaping techniques and home structure modifications.

They will also learn about how to develop a clear and achievable family emergency plan, what actions to take during a wildfire, and proper evacuation procedures. HWMO makes each workshop a fun, interactive, and casual event that the whole ohana can enjoy. Each family will also receive a free copy of the Ready, Set, Go! Hawaii Wildland Fire Action Guide that can be used as a step-by-step tool for carrying out the recommended actions. HWMO will also be holding a raffle at the end of each workshop.

Wildfire incidents are becoming more and more frequent across Hawaii Island due to increased human interaction with wildland areas and “an increase in nonnative, fire-prone grasses and shrubs, which now cover nearly one quarter of Hawaii’s total land area,” explains Clay Trauernicht, Wildfire Extension Specialist for the University of Hawaii, Manoa. “Wildfires were once limited in Hawaii to active volcanic eruptions and infrequent dry lightning strikes.

However, the dramatic increase in wildfire prevalance poses serious threats to human safety, infrastructure, agricultural production, cultural resources, native ecosystems, watershed functioning, and nearshore coastal resources statewide.” With a changing climate and year-round fire seasons, Hawaii is predicted to continue this upward trend in wildfire incidents. Elizabeth Pickett, Executive Director of HWMO explains, “It is essential that Hawaii’s residents learn about the important role they play in protecting their family, home, community, and natural resources from wildfires. Participants will be safer and empowered after attending these workshops.”

Workshops start at 6 p.m. and end at 7 p.m.

Workshop Schedule:
July 21 (Mon.) – Ocean View – Ocean View Community Center (92-8924 Leilani Circle)
July 23 (Wed.) – Waikoloa – Waikoloa Community Association Community Room (68-1792 Melia St.)
July 25 (Fri.) – Volcano – Cooper Center (19-4030 Wright Rd.)
July 28 (Mon.) – Pahala – Pahala Elementary School (96-3150 Pikake Pl.)
July 29 (Tue.) – Waimea – Thelma Parker Memorial Library (67-1209 Mamalahoa Hwy.)
July 31 (Thu.) – Kona – Civic Center Liquor Control Conference Room (2nd Floor of Building B) (74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy.)
August 4 (Mon.) – Kealakekua – Konawaena Elementary School (81-901 Onouli Rd.)
August 6 (Wed.) – Kona – Hawaii Community College West Hawaii Campus (81-964 Halekiʻi St.)

Workshops are made possible by The Cooperative Fire Program of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Pacific Southwest Region.

Contact: or (808) 885-0900. Visit us at We will also be sending updates through our social media – links can be found on our website.

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