Ke? Lia Pond Refuge Center reopens after Maui fire


The Ke? Lia Pond National Wildlife Refuge and Visitor Center reopened on Monday following damage from the Waiko Road fire earlier this month.

The 700-acre property was established in 1992 as a protected wildlife viewing spot in one of Hawaii’s few wetlands. Native species such as’ alae ke’oke’o, the Hawaiian coot and ae’o, the Hawaiian stilt, live in the refuge.

The Waiko Road fire spread through old sugar cane fields in parts of central Maui, burning 100 acres of the centre’s property. The burnt area was covered with kiawes, a non-native plant species.

Although no facilities were damaged, the fire occurred within 10 meters of the reception center. With numerous fires occurring in drought-stricken Maui, the shelter has taken fire prevention measures at Ke? Lia Pond.

Glenn Klingler, project manager for the wildlife sanctuary complex in Oahu and Maui, explained that native plants played a key role in stopping this month’s blaze.

“Native plants won’t carry fire like these non-native kiawes,” Klingler said. “So with these fuel cuts, we’re not only protecting the building and structures, but it also provides a buffer zone when we have these native plants in place. “

Naio, p? Hinahina, ‘ohi, and’? Hi’a are some of the native plants that helped stop the flames.

The center also protected its facilities by plowing an area of ​​arid land between the kiawe forest and the buildings, which prevented the fire from moving any further than it did.

In its native gardens, the wildlife refuge center has also placed wood chips. Klingler said the wood chips smoldered the fire, preventing it from moving to hard-to-reach areas such as treetops.

“These are things that we have done in the past and what we are going to do in the future to try to protect our facilities and our equipment,” Klingler said. “It worked really well this time around, so we’re very happy with it. “

Federal and state agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, have also been instrumental in preventing the refuge from sustaining significant fire damage.

The public can view the wildlife of Ke? Lia Pond weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except federal holidays.


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