History of Fire
Over the past decade, Hawai‘i has experienced an average of >1,000 ignitions burning >20,000 acres (8,000 ha) each year across the main inhabited islands. Fire response agencies are able to contain 90% of wildfire ignitions to less than one acre in size, but large fires (>1000 acres) have occurred on all islands, and happen multiple times each year across the state.
Wildfire Threats and Impacts
Nearly all fires in Hawai‘i are human-caused and they often pose threats to communities and natural and cultural resources. Having evolved in the absence of frequent fires, Hawai‘i's native ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to fire disturbance, which is often associated with the spread and establishment of nonnative grass and shrub species.
The primary drivers of fire occurrence are: frequent, mostly human-caused ignitions; expansion of nonnative, fire-prone grasslands and shrublands over c. 25% of state land area; and strong rain shadow effects and episodic drought create which create year-round fire weather.
Recent Fires in Hawai‘i
Recent Resources For Hawai‘i
Talk Story Tuesdays: Informing Contemporary Wildfire Science from Historical Hawaiian Language Newspapers
In this Pacific Fire Exchange talk story Q&A session, we speak with Dr. Clay Trauernicht and Dr. Alyssa Anderson, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa about wildfire in Hawai`i in the context of Hawaiian language newspapers as well as the historical landscape changes of the 20th century.
In this Pacific Fire Exchange talk story Q&A session, we round up the latest research, past and present for managers and landowners wanting to understand more about how our four-legged friends (goats, sheep, cows, etc.) if managed properly can help reduce blazing and wildland fire. This month’s science share out and conversation was with Dr. Clay Trauernicht, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa Ecosystems and Fire Specialist; Raia Olsen of O‘ahu Grazers and Dr. Elliott Parsons, formerly with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. They presented the how-tos on hiring island professional grazers and lessons learned for contract grazing.
A slide presentation overview by Dr. Clay Trauernicht of best practices for assessing and mitigating after-fire impacts to the environment.