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Mapping Hawai‘i’s Wildfires

Pacific Fire Exchange
Pacific Fire Exchange
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Scientists with the University of Hawai‘i are mapping the human impact of wildfires in the islands.

Over the past decade, the state has experienced on average, more than 1,000 fires burning over 20,000 acres each year.  Relative to total land area, the percentage of Hawai‘i’s land that burned from 2005 to 2011 was roughly equivalent to a fire consuming the western United States.

But unlike fires on the mainland - which are most often caused by lightning…99% of fires in Hawai‘i are caused by human activity. Clay Trauernicht and Creighton Litton are from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the UH M?noa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.  His research suggests Hawai‘i’s land-use practices have increased the spread of fire-prone, non-native grasses.

Fire_012516.mp3
Creighton Litton

Other risk factors include strong rain shadow effects in the leeward areas and episodic droughts, especially those associated with El Niño events such as are happening now, creating year-round potential for frequent and often destructive wildfires. Not only is there a heightened risk of wildfire, but its potential impacts may be more acute in the Islands, given the small land area, tight linkages between terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and sensitivity of native ecosystems to disturbance.

The wildfire research was recently published in “Pacific Science” which drew on multiple sources to construct a 108-year fire history that demonstrates a more-than-fourfold increase in the area burned annually statewide in recent decades. 

More information can be found at PacificFireExchange.Org. 

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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