The Kalaeloa Unit of Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge began work on reducing the severe fire hazard created by extreme accumulations of thick vegetation and little rainfall. Local contractors were used to remove high fuel loadings which predominately consisted of mesquite trees, brush, buffalo grass and pluchea. This reduction in the fire risk will help to prevent fire threats to two nearby residential communities and threats to users of the adjacent airport used for private and commercial flights as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
Hakalau Forest NWR WUI Fuel Break 2006
Hakalau Forest NWR (25 miles west of Hilo, Hawaii) was set aside in 1985 to protect and manage endangered forest birds and their habitat. Located on the windward slope of Mauna Kea and the leeward slope of Mauna Loa, the 38,030 acre refuge supports a diversity of native birds and plants equaled by only one or two other areas in Hawaii. The refuge has numerous federal and university owned structures, as well as a koa house and outbuildings which are in the process of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The purpose of the fuel reduction project was to reduce gorse and
other invasive hazardous fuels along the refuge boundary, and also
establish a drivable and defensible fire perimeter around the refuge.
This project was completed with collaboration from the adjacent landowner,
and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. Fuels reduction occurred
on federal and Hawaiian lands and will help protect structures, as
well as threatened and endangered plant and animal species in the