Native wildlife potentially threatened by Makakilo brushfire

Firefighters are being lauded for saving homes from the flames above Makakilo.

But the area is also home to native wildlife. What’s being done to preserve these fragile species?

The potential for harm to the environment will exist long after the fire is out.

“Anytime you have a fire, licking up toward the summit of the Waianae mountains, you know that there are things at risk,” said Sam Gon of the Nature Conservancy. “Not only the plants, but our endangered tree snails that can be found along that summit crest. It’s their last refuge now.”

Even though this isn’t land that the Nature Conservancy protects, the environmental organization has an interest in what happens whenever there is a fire of this kind. Gon cites the case of a fire in Nanakuli some years ago.

“They didn’t really battle the fire all that much,” he said, “and then it burned huge sections of native forest and took out one of the last stands of native gardenias that were growing there. So there are uncounted resources, very important resources to us.”

The fire attracted the attention of people in the Makakilo neighborhood, but Gon said protecting the watershed is important to all of us.

“Even though we find ourselves miles away from a fire like this, we all live on a really small island with limited resources, and anytime part of those water resources in particular are threatened, we should all be concerned.”

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