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WM Fire Task Force mapping Ukumehame

Except in active volcanic areas, fire is not a part of the natural lifecycle of native Hawaiian ecosystems, and only a few species regenerate after a fire, if at all.  The void they leave is quickly filled by fire-adapted alien weeds, which increases the risk of future fires.*

While fire is a common event used to clear sugar cane and thought of as 'nature's way' on the mainland, it is extremely impairing to the Hawaiian watershed.  Over the past thirty years, more than 24,000 acres have been burned in Maui, and in the past year hundreds of acres of the West Maui Forest Reserve have gone up in smoke as well, including some of the most intact and diverse sections of native vegetation.  Fires have many impacts to our ecosystems:

* Damage to soil and Vegetation

* Loss/Degradation of wildlife habitat or forage

* Impacts to range resources or agriculture

* Impacts on cultural resources

WMMWP is currently investigating methods and tactics to better protect the watershed against this risk.  Such efforts could include but are not limited to the promotion and education of the public, reforestation, and firebreaks.

Please be part of the solution! Practice fire wise techniques in your neighborhood.
The National Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire - before a fire starts. The Firewise Communities approach emphasizes community responsibility for planning in the design of a safe community as well as effective emergency response, and individual responsibility for safer home construction and design, landscaping, and maintenance.

Firewise community highlight: Kohala by the Sea, a Firewise Community on the Big Island.

*Exerted from "Last Stand - The Vanishing Hawaiian Forest" prepared by The Nature Conservancy, Hawaii.  For a free copy, contact TNC.