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Gov. Josh Green calls state to action to be more aware of risks, prepared for wildfires

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Tinder-dry conditions contributed to the spread of a 2012 wildfire in Kaʻū on the Big Island. (Hawai‘i Fire Department photo/file)

More than 98% of wildfires in Hawai‘i are caused by people.

Gov. Josh Green said that statistic from the ­Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization is a “shocking call to action” for the entire state to be more aware of wildfire risks and how to reduce them as well as prepared for the worst if a blaze sparks.

“We need to do better and we can do better,” said Green urged during a news conference last week, where he was joined by a cohort of state and county officials.

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It’s been 9 months since historic Lahaina, Maui, was destroyed by a wildfire that killed more than 100 people.

With wildfire season in Hawai‘i nearing, the governor and his administration are taking steps to help make sure residents of the islands can be safe and prepared.

Green also proclaimed May as Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction Preparedness Month.

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“My administration is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities the whole year-round, though wildfire season gives us an opportunity to pay special attention to this particular risk — and raise awareness to the steps each of us can take, alongside government efforts, to keep our neighbors and ourselves safe,” he said.

Courtesy of Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green’s office

The Green Administration:

  • Approved 40 remote automatic weather stations for deployment throughout the state.
  • Started installation, with federal partners, of 80 fire-detection sensors with 24-hour alerting capabilities.
  • Continues collaboration with federal partners, nonprofit organizations and local communities for future resilience.
  • Revamped siren protocols in conjunction with the state’s four counties.
  • Re-established a state fire marshal.

Individual state departments, including the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation and Department of Land and Natural Resources, also are acting to mitigate fire risks and facilitate evacuation routes in collaboration with federal and county partners.

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As part of the observance of Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction Preparedness Month, the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency, state and county partners and Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization will launch a fire mitigation campaign.

Valuable information and initiatives will be posted online.

To learn more about how to protect your family, home, yard and lands from wildfire, visit the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization website.

“True disaster preparedness involves lifelong learning, as best practices are improved, in part, from lessons learned in previous disasters,” said Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agecny Administrator James Barros. “Most of our wildfires are preventable and each of us can take steps to keep them from starting.”

Residents can look up their community’s wildfire risk here.

Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green was joined by a cohort of state and county officials for a news conference last week to discuss the importance of being aware of wildfire risks and how to reduce them as well as prepared for the worst if a blaze sparks. (Courtesy of Gov. Josh Green’s office)

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