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Firewise and defensible space

By Staff | Aug 19, 2010

The brush fire at Launiupoko was reported at 5:45 p.m. last week Tuesday. Residents thanked Dave Minami of West Maui Land Company for his quick thinking and help in putting out that blaze.

LAHAINA — Maui’s drought and windy conditions have led to seeing many fires throughout our island this year. I would like to extend a HUGE MAHALO to all our firefighters that work so hard to keep our community safe. 

A special thank you goes out to private companies like West Maui Land Company and Goodfellow Bros. who, at their own expense, are always there to help our commnities battle these fires with their equipment and operators to keep us safe.

We have seen fires all year, from the large Maalaea fire to Wailuku Heights, Happy Valley, Waiehu, Ukumehame, Launiupoko, Kaanapali and Mahinahina fires.

Be aware if you happen to see any suspicious activity around our dry areas and report it to the police.  

In speaking with Denise Laitinen, Firewise Communities Hawaii coordinator, she recommends creating defensible space around your property to prevent fire from reaching your home.

“It’s about being lean, clean and green,” said Laitinen. “Creating a 30-foot buffer zone of defensible space around your property will help reduce your risk to wildfire. Even if you only have five or ten feet of yard, you can still be Firewise.”

To create defensible space:

• Prune shrubs and trees so the lowest branches are six to ten feet off the ground to prevent fire traveling from the ground to the tree tops.

• Remove dead leaves and plant material from around your home.

• Plant vegetation with high-moisture content or plants native to your area. Clear away flammable plants that contain oily resins.

• Make sure plants closest to the house are low to the ground.

For more information on how you can make your home Firewise, contact Firewise Communities Hawaii at (808) 281-3497 or firewisehawaii@yahoo.com.