East Hawaii News

Kanehoa Community to be Recognized as ‘Firewise’

April 25, 2016, 5:02 PM HST
* Updated April 25, 4:49 PM
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February 2016 fire in West Hawai'i. File photo by Jewels Dupre.

February 2016 fire in West Hawai’i. File photo by Jewels Dupre.

In recognition of May as Wildlife Preparedness Month, the Hawai’i Wildlife Management Organization is inviting Big Island communities to celebrate by taking steps to be ready and prepared for potential wildfires.

National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day is on May 7, and communities across the Big Island are invited to prepare for the potential threat of wildfires with activities ranging from evacuation planning to flammable vegetation removal.

One Big Island community will conduct a flammable plant removal as part of a Firewise Community Hazard Assessment through HWMO and the Hawai’i County Fire Department.

The Kanehoa subdivision, located off Kawaihae Road between Kawaihae and Waimea, will remove ‘ekoa throughout the neighborhood. The plant is known to be highly flammable and risks spreading embers for miles.

Last year, the Kanehoa community worked with HWMO to become nationally recognized as a “Firewise” community. HWMO officials say the community put in countless hours and money to ensure that their homes had a reduced risk of ignition.

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On May 7, when their work day is completed, the Kanehoa community will receive recognition as a community that has worked towards wildfire readiness as the second Firewise community in Hawai’i.

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HWMO’s efforts to help communities prepare for fires and become Firewise is possible through federal grant funding. Other communities currently in the process of becoming Firewise are Waialea, Kailapa, Puako, and Waikii Ranch. The organization anticipates ten Firewise communities by 2017.

Visit the Hawai’i Wild Fire website for information on protecting your community from wildfires. Communities interested in hosting a community-wide preparedness event on May 7 to coordinate with national efforts should e-mail [email protected] or call 885-0900.

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