In 1901, a massive 30,000-acre fire burned on Hawaii island’s Hamakua coast for three months — big enough to draw attention from the U.S. Bureau of Forestry, which came to the island to investigate.
The problem, reported Edward Griffiths of the Forestry Bureau, “is conserving water supply, which depends on the preservation of existing forests and restocking some of the denuded slopes.”
What Griffiths knew 100 years ago is what fire experts are saying today, said Clay Trauernicht, wildland fire specialist with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. When it comes to preventing fires, restoring forests and controlling the type of vegetation that grows are crucial.
Trauernicht spoke on the history and changing threat of wildfires during a presentation last week hosted by the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.