Public Input Sought on West Maui Wildfire Protection Plan

January 20, 2014, 3:12 PM HST · Updated January 20, 5:39 PM
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Kailana Street Fire, photo by Wendy Osher, Jan. 6, 2014.

File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Public input is being sought on a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the West Maui Community.

The non-profit Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization, in collaboration with the West Maui Fire Task Force, is hosting a series of meetings this month to gather comments and suggestions.

Organizers say the meetings will identify and prioritize projects to reduce the threat of wildfire to West Maui communities.  Community Wildfire Protection Plans have also become a prerequisite in order to receive federal funding for wildfire protection projects, organizers said.

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A complete schedule of meetings includes the following:

  • Jan. 22, Lahaina Civic Center, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 22, Lahaina Civic Center, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 23, Wailuku Community Center, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 23, Wailuku Community Center, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 28, Kapalua Village Center Conference Room, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 29, Waiheʻe Elementary School, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“CWPPs are meant to tie into existing or planned projects,” says Elizabeth Pickett, Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization executive director in a press release.

“Many communities are developing disaster plans or long-range community plans, and the CWPP is meant to complement those plans. It will be a useful tool for community members to help make West Maui’s neighborhoods and natural areas fire-safe,” she said.

The organization works in partnership with the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, the National Park Service, University of Hawaiʻi Cooperative Extension, large landowners, ranchers, scientists, and community members.

“A CWPP is a community-based ‘roots’ process to outline wildfire risks to a community and to catalyze projects that can reduce those risks,” said Lance De Silva, Maui Forest Management Supervisor with DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

“In West Maui, we need to reduce our risks from mauka to makai. This is an important opportunity for communities to have a say over the priorities in the plan and to seek funds for the wildfire mitigation projects that residents themselves identify,” he said.

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