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Hirono Announces Over $5.6 Million in Wildfire Preparation Funding for Hawaii

~ Heeding call from Hirono, USDA Forest Service announces more than $5.6 million to projects in Hawaii through the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) announced that the U.S. Forest Service is awarding more than $5.6 million to help plan for and prevent wildfires in Hawaii. The funding, made available through the Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) Program, will be allocated to nine projects across the state to help at-risk communities plan for and reduce the risk of wildfires. This announcement follows a letter Senator Hirono sent to U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore in November 2023 in strong support of Hawaii’s applications for CWDG funding.

“The devastating wildfires in Lahaina last year illustrated how vulnerable Hawaii communities are to wildfire,” said Senator Hirono. “As Maui continues working to recover and rebuild, I am glad to see this funding coming to the University of Hawaii and communities across our islands to help plan for and reduce the risk of future wildfires.”

The CWDG Program was established to protect communities, infrastructure, and natural resources from the threat of wildfires. This program was made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Senator Hirono supported, and provides funding to communities to develop and revise Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) and to implement projects described in CWPPs that are less than ten years old.

This funding will be allocated to the following projects:

  • University of Hawaii – over $4.6 million for provisioning plant materials for fire risk mitigation to underserved communities of Hawaii. This funding will be used to increase and improve availability of native and non-native, non-invasive seeds needed to support fuel conversion for fire risk mitigation, mitigate post-fire impacts such as erosion, and restore native ecosystems following a wildfire. This project will also establish seed sharing protocols and educational resources for community-based projects in collection, cultivation, processing, and storage to increase seed supplies.
  • Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization:
    • Lanai CWPP – over $97,000 to develop a new CWPP for the island of Lanai
    • Western Oahu CWPP – over $135,000 to update the Western Oahu CWPP
    • Upcountry Maui CWPP – over $130,000 to update the Upcountry Maui CWPP
    • Molokai CWPP – over $140,000 to update the Molokai CWPP
    • Hawaii Fire Department, Hilo CWPP – over $125,000 to update Hilo’s CWPP, which includes surrounding areas
    • Central Oahu CWPP – over $134,000 to develop a CWPP for Central Oahu
    • Puna, Hawaii Island CWPP – over $128,000 to develop a CWPP for the area encompassing Puna District, Hawaii County, and Hawaii Island
    • Windward Oahu CWPP – over $131,000 to develop a CWPP for Windward Oahu