Big Island Polls

Big Island Now poll results: There are lots of things lawmakers can do to help address wildfires

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As lawmakers gear up for the upcoming legislative session, one of the issues top of mind throughout the state is wildfire prevention in the wake of the deadly Lāhainā blaze in August.

On Nov. 1, the Wildfire Prevention Working Group published a draft report. On Nov. 17, it heard public testimony. The working group also received 221 pages of written testimony.

The working group will digest all the testimony and issue a final report on Dec. 15, in time to draft legislation for the upcoming 2024 legislative session that starts Jan. 17.

The public has opinions on how the state can help address this issue, and in the latest Big Island Now poll, we wanted to know your thoughts on how can the State Legislature protect Hawai‘i Island from future wildfires.


Out of 433 votes, 71 people voted to create and maintain defensible space with fines and other legal consequences.

Forty-six people voted to provide more money to the fire departments.

Donna Hallock commented on the poll saying: “Hawai‘i needs its own firefighting plane that can drop fire retardant plus Hawaiæi needs to train and maintain its own “Hot Shots” team.”


P. Ka‘ala Kalele Roberson also commented saying the state should implement an Office of Emergency Response, similar to the State of California, where there are incident command/commander protocols.

Roberson said: “These protocols will establish coordinate all ’emergency responders’ relative to the ‘particular emergency.’ Look it up!!! The protocols are for all emergency-prepared responses. It includes training, scheduled emergency response tabletops, exercises & lines of communication. Why create something new when it exists. Calif. has used these protocols for fires (north/south Calif.), earthquake preparedness (Irvine), & it works.”

But, 130 people voted that all options lists and more are needed to prevent wildfires. See full results below:

  • Create and maintain ‘defensible space’ by both public and private property owners, with fines and other legal consequences for violations. 71 (16%)
  • Provide funding to allow for the hiring of more firefighters. 46 (10%)
  • Adopt building standards that would better protect structures against wildfires, including requiring the use of fire-resistant materials and construction techniques 24 (5%)
  • Hire a state fire marshal 20 (4%)
  • Construction of more green waste facilities. 14 (3%)
  • All of the above. 71 (16%)
  • None of the above. 57 (13%)
  • All of this and more. 130 (30%)
  • Total Votes: 433

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