Wildland fire specialist to give free lecture

Impact to the aina, ocean focus of talk

Wildfires have an impact on the nearshore ocean environment and coral reefs, which is why Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is hosting a free presentation, “Wildfire on Maui: the History, Threat, and Our Collective Responsibility,” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pacific Whale Foundation’s classrooms at the Maui Harbor Shops in Maalaea.

Doors open at 5 and complimentary refreshments will be served.

The presentation will be offered by Clay Trauernicht, Ph.D., wildland fire specialist at University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension.

“Over the past decade, an average of more than 1,000 wildfires burned more than 17,000 acres each year in Hawaii, with the percentage of total land area burned comparable to and often exceeding figures for the fire-prone western United States,” said Trauernicht. “During my presentation, we’ll use fire science and a bit of history to tackle the how and why of the 400 percent increase in areas burned by wildfires in Hawaii. We’ll also look at the consequences it has for our watersheds and nearshore ecosystems.

“The short story is that fire on Maui and other islands is a problem we’ve largely created,” he noted. “It is therefore one of the few ‘natural’ disasters we can actually avoid. We’ll consider our options to reduce fire risk and impacts on Maui and how the urgency to take action is increasing under a changing climate.”

Attendees will be invited to share their questions, experiences and ideas about wildland fires on Maui at the conclusion of Trauernicht’s presentation.

COMMENTS