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The Conversation: Reducing Maui's Fire Risk


In the last decade we have seen an average of 20 thousand acres burn every year in Hawaii, according to wildfire specialists. Most recently it has been the county of Maui that has seen what’s seen more than its share of scorchers. With recent blazes on Oahu and the Big Island it remains clear that no island is totally safe from wildfire. What’s our strategy to reduce our risk?

Our in studio guests today include:

  • Maui Fire Department Assistant Chief Val Martin. He got his start as a federal firefighter here on Oahu and has also served with the Honolulu Fire Department on the North Shore and in town.  

  • Michael Walker is the State Fire Protection Forester for the Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Forestry & Wildlife. The division is the primary responder for wildland fire on 26% of the land in the state, and assists with county and federal partners for an additional 25%.  He has been working with invasive species, forest restoration, and fire in Hawaii since 2000.

Clay Trauernicht, Ecologist & Wildland Fire Specialist with University of Hawaii, joins us on the phone.

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Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
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