Hawaii State Wildfire History

From The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization and The Pacific Fire Exchange


The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) led a multi-year, multi-partner effort with fire response agencies and resource managers (see below) to create compatible reporting among agencies, and to compile the first ever statewide wildfire history data set.  In Hawaii, fire suppression agencies use reporting formats that differ in the type of information and level of detail recorded per fire event. These differences have prevented mapping and identifying fire trends and emerging problems at community, county, and state levels. The HWMO Hawaii State Wildfire History data set is intended to: (1) aid communities in developing federally compliant Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP); (2) support research on the ecological and social drivers of wildfire; (3) communicate the extent of fire occurrence and threat in Hawaii with national and local funding agencies/grantors; (4) secure external resources to address fire issues; and (5) engage communities in wildfire preparedness activities.  It is essential to understand that this data comes with limitations and caveats (see Use Limitations).

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. 2013. Hawaii State Wildfire History Data Set. Available online at gis.ctahr.hawaii.edu.


Collection, compilation, and quality control of the data was carried out by the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and natural resources in Hawaii from wildfire.  The project was funded by grants from the USDA Forest Service and Hawaii State Fire Assistance Wildland/Urban Interface Grant Program (2009-2011; 2011-2013).  HWMO is an equal opportunity employer.  A portion of the of the data was quality controlled through a collaboration between HWMO and the Pacific Fire Exchange (PFX), which facilitated additional logistical support from US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry.

Fire record data came from all four county fire departments (Hawaii County, Maui County, Kauai County, and Honolulu City and County [Oahu Island]), the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) within the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). This includes all fire response agencies except for Department of Defense, whose records are classified.

This work could not have been completed without the assistance of Miles Nakahara, Wayne Ching, Joe Molhoek, Eric Moller, Darren Rosario, James Kino, Robert Westerman, Jeffrey Farris, Jeffery Murray, Jay Hatayama, Lance De Silva, Patrick Porter, Mike Ito, David Benitez who worked with HWMO to negotiate and coordinate data sharing; Pablo Beimler reconciled the fire records and assisted with geo-locating missing fire locations; Andrew Pierce secured additional funding for quality control; Orlando Smith carried out GIS analyses and mapping; Tom Loomis, Andrew Tarnas-Raskin, Mark Wasser and Clay Trauernicht provided for additional project support; Elizabeth Pickett facilitated the entire effort.

Use Limitations


We actively encourage use of this data set for scientific purposes and planning by communities, natural resource managers, and emergency response agencies.  This is not, however, the case for commercial purposes.  Users are prohibited from any commercial, non-free resale, or redistribution without explicit written permission from Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO).  We kindly ask any users to cite the HWMO Hawaii State Wildfire History Data set (see below) as the source used in the creation of any reports, publications, new data sets, derived products, or services resulting from the use of this data set.  If possible, please link web pages to the HWMO website (hawaiiwildfire.org).

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. 2013. Hawaii State Wildfire History Data Set. Available online at gis.ctahr.hawaii.edu.


HWMO will not bear any responsibility for the consequences of using this data set, which are entirely the responsibility of the user.  The past wildfire events recorded in this data set do not guarantee that homes or property will survive a wildfire event or that an area with few wildfires signifies a low hazard or risk rating. Some fire events required retroactively identifying geographic coordinates from narrative descriptions that may detract from the spatial accuracy of the record. Therefore, the data does not indicate the full range of realistic fire and ember exposures, nor does it offer actual quantification of the potential exposure of homes to the ignition, spread, and intensity of wildfires or embers produced by wildfires. Although the data set and subsequent analyses may indicate general wildfire patterns for a given area, the actual risk to homes and property can deviate based on the characteristics of the site around an individual home, community, or natural resource area.


It is inevitable that a data-set of this size will contain some errors and inconsistencies.  Data for some records were extracted from narrative accounts and due to time and funding limitations, HWMO was not able to extract all data for all records. Although errors have been kept to a minimum, the user must recognize the following caveats:

Map (full screen map)