Preparing for wildfire: Hawaii Wildfire Summit to train all who live or work in blaze-prone areas

  • Each year, about 0.5 percent of Hawaii’s total land area burns, equal to or greater than the proportion burned of any other state. More than 98 percent of wildfires are human-caused. (COURTESY PHOTO/HWMO)

KOHALA COAST — A first-ever Hawaii Wildfire Summit will be held April 30 through May 4 at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel &Bungalows. Co-sponsored by the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), Pacific Fire Exchange and Big Island Wildfire Coordinating Group, the summit will be a unique opportunity for people who deal with wildfire in their work and communities across Hawaii and the Pacific to learn, share and collaborate on ways to fight and prevent wildfires.

“Over the years, HWMO has come to understand that wildfire-related challenges are faced by a wide array of professionals and citizens, including more than just those focused on emergency response. While the summit program is informative and highly valuable for fire professionals, the offerings are also targeted toward other efforts and people that deal with wildfire, such as riparian and marine conservation, cultural resource protection, the visitor industry, planning professionals and community groups,” Elizabeth Pickett, HWMO’s director, said.

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Preceding the summit will be National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire training April 30 and May 1. Attendees can learn how to confidently assess home ignition potential and to recommend appropriate wildfire risk reduction measures for homes and other structures in residential areas exposed to wildfire hazards. Space is limited to 40 people. To sign up, go to https://tinyurl.com/hawaii-wildfire-summit.

Presentations and workshops, usually only available on the mainland, will be available at the summit May 2 through 4 as opportunities to connect to national-level programs, research and trainings. In three jam-packed days, the summit will include some of the best expertise from the Hawaii-Pacific region and the U.S. with topics relevant for those working in the fields of emergency response, natural resource management from summit to sea, land-use planning, environmental education, community safety, ecological research and hazard resilience.

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There will be time and opportunity for collaborative project planning as well as knowledge-building workshops. Opportunities to meet in the same space, cross pollinate, share lessons learned and collaborate are rare when it comes to wildfire. The training and summit will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the five days.

Summit tickets and info: Go to https://tinyurl.com/hawaii-wildfire-summit or www.hawaiiwildfire.org/hawaii-wildfire-summit

  1. Bill Bugbee April 20, 2018 7:56 am

    “Attendees can learn how to confidently assess home ignition potential and to recommend appropriate wildfire risk reduction measures for homes and other structures in residential areas exposed to wildfire hazards..” The important element missing in this wildfire workshop is the role that arson increasingly plays in Big Island wildfires. It’s a growing problem and a primary contributor to West island wildfires.

    The County so far has failed to address the arson problem, except after the fact, while preventive and mitigating measures remain lacking. In raising awareness, the County could start with a centralized reporting system that can quickly respond to residents and other witnesses reporting suspicious activities potentially leading to wildfires.


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