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Be prepared for fires

By Staff | Jul 25, 2019

According to state agencies, all signs point to a busy time for wildland firefighters across Hawaii.

We have the unfortunate mix of higher than normal temperatures, drought conditions and abundant vegetation created by two successive rainy winter seasons.

The recent 9,000-acre fire in Central Maui was scary and forced evacuations of neighborhoods. Once again, Maui firefighters and their partners in the construction industry did an incredible job protecting lives and structures.

Experts recently reported that clearing and cleaning up brush on your property is critical for the safety of your family, home and firefighters.

Elizabeth Pickett, head of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), said what’s most important is what happens BEFORE a wildfire sparks.

She explained, “Firefighting is the last line of defense when it comes to wildfire. It is up to everyone, residents and visitors alike, to prevent wildfire by eliminating any chance for heat or sparks to come in contact with dry vegetation.

“There is also a lot that can be done around your home and community to reduce wildfire’s ability to spread and cause widespread damage. It can be as simple as keeping your grass short, removing dead branches and leaves, and clearing your rain gutters of debris. Finally, make and practice your emergency plan with your family and with any neighbors who might need help preparing for or evacuating from a wildfire.”

The HWMO website at www.hawaiiwildfire.org/ features information on what home and property owners can do to protect their properties against the threat of wildfire.