Community fire protection planning meeting in Naalehu

Community fire protection planning meeting in Naalehu

10 March 2010

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USA —  The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization hosts an informational meeting seeking community input to a community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) for Ka‘u communities 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 10 in the Naalehu Community Center Clubhouse.

The area covered in the CWPP spans from Kahuku to the Volcano National Park Boundary. (Ocean View already has a CWPP). Residents in communities in or around Kahuku, Kiolakaa, South Point, Naalehu, Waiohinu, Honuapu, Ninole, Punaluu, Sea Mountain, Discovery Harbor, Mark Twain Estates, Pahala, Wood Valley, and Kapapala are encouraged to attend.

Ka‘u residents are greatly impacted by wildfires. Homes and structures have been lost, communities evacuated, and roads closed during past wildfires. A CWPP will identify mitigation projects to reduce the threat of wildfire to Ka‘u communities.

The meeting is sponsored by the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, (HWMO) a non-profit dedicated to protecting communities and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.

HWMO’s Board of Directors includes representatives from the Hawaii County Fire Department, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the U.S. Army, the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension, ranchers, scientists, and community members.

CWPP’s are a great planning tool for a community and they have become a prerequisite in order to receive federal funding for wildfire mitigation projects. A CWPP assists a community in identifying and prioritizing areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments; assess values at risk such as wildlife habitat, other natural resources, recreation and scenic values; as well as economic issues. It’s a collaborative effort with input from community members, firefighting agencies, and related organizations.

These plans are becoming increasingly important because in the future many granting sources will only give funding to those communities that have completed a CWPP.

Miles Nakahara, HWMO Board President, points out that a CWPP isn’t just another federal study.

“A CWPP is a short and simple document outlining risks to a community and projects that can reduce those risks. CWPPs are meant to tie into existing or planned projects,” Nakahara said. “Many communities are developing disaster plans or long-range community plans, and the CWPP will compliment those plans. It’s a useful tool for community members to help make Hawaii’s neighborhoods fire safe.”

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