Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction Preparedness Month

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Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction Preparedness Month (5.10.24) PC: Office of the Governor

Gov. Josh Green, M.D., proclaimed May as Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction Preparedness Month. The proclamation comes nine months after the Aug. 8, 2023 wildfire that destroyed much of historic Lahaina Town and claimed the lives of more than 100 people.

In an update on recovery, Green said only 605 families remain of the initial 3,071 households accommodated in hotel rooms after being displaced by the wildfires. That’s more than 80% who have been able to get into long-term housing. The governor said he hopes to get the remaining individuals into long-term units in the coming 4-6 weeks.

Green commended Mayor Bissen and federal workers with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA for their progress in obtaining pre-clearance for properties. Of the 1,502 residential lots on Maui that had to be cleared, 391 have been cleared and returned to their owners. A total of 971 have had the basic clearance finished, but they have to go through the final touches before they go back to their families, according to the update.


“We wanted to remind people that we intend to build well over 1,000 transitional houses, and we’ve done groundbreakings and have shared that with everyone in the past couple of weeks,” said Green. “Also, now over 60 people have applied for the One ʻOhana Fund if they lost a loved or were injured.”

Green said that while the state is making progress, he wanted to take time to focus on preventing the next wildfire and reducing risk.

State officials say wildfires are preventable with over 98% of wildfires in Hawaiʻi being human caused. Many are attributed to campfires, open flames, improper cigaret disposal or equipment malfunction.


“Please be very careful as we come into wildfire season. It was pointed out to me, by the team and my chief of staff—This is going to be a very dry season. We’re not anticipating rain even like we normally would hope to get. So it’s a very wildfire risky season. You want to be able to prevent fires by having defensible spaces around your homes,” said Green.

State officials encourage the public to have an evacuation plan if a fire occurs, especially when under red flag warnings.

So far, the state has approved 40 Remote Automatic Weather Stations that provide updated data into the weather service. “It gives us a lot more kind of eyes on the ground and predictability about what we would be at risk for,” said Green.


The state also revamped siren protocols in partnership with each of the counties. “And then we’ve also now reestablished a state Fire Marshal,” said Green, thanking the legislature for approving the request. “We need someone to help us pull it all together and go for grants and be our advocate,” he said.

“Here’s, the money number so far for Fiscal Year 2024: We have $362 million for wildfire relief; $292 million for recovery cost; $65 million went to our extended One ʻOhana Fund… Sixty families have said yes; and then, $221 million has been appropriated for fiscal year 2025,” said Green.

“A lot of the costs that are associated with the disaster, go back and forth between the federal government and the state government, and we will be constantly fighting to keep the state dollars here so we can do all these other projects that we really want to do, including housing, including fire breaks… significant resources have been appropriated, and it is extraordinarily helpful,” the governor said.

“We’re working together with the county, with the mayor, with HECO, with of course our firefighting leadership and the council. It is exceptional that all this partnership is, together. We just can’t have another wildfire,” Green concluded.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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