HONOLULU (KHON2) — What took years of work to put up, was taken away in a night.
“I don’t think the person or people that did this understands the impact,” said Josiah Jury of Kuahiwi Fencing & Wildlife Services.
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Ka’ala Farm and Learning Center said on Friday, July 1, thieves stole about 800 feet of fire prevention fencing worth over $10,000. The farm is surrounded by miles of the special fencing which is meant to protect the property from future fires.
“The length and type of fence you can’t find here on Oahu and this type of fence is specifically used for the reintroduction of cattle or sheep which can mitigate the fire basically to create an agricultural or natural fire break,” Jury said.
The Leeward Coast has seen its share of brush fires over the years. In 2018, a devastating blaze threatened farm and cultural land.
“The entire bottom of the valley was on fire and it was going into the forest reserve,” said Eric Enos, Ka’ala Farm and Learning Center executive director. “It hit the agriculture park and it swept through there and burned all the farms in the Waianae Agriculture Park.”
That’s what sparked efforts from the community and the state to prioritize fire prevention in the area.
“We got a grant in aid in 2018 after that big fire. We got a grant in aid for putting the fence along the road,” Enos said.
“It took time, it took planning, it took people pursuing, getting funds, getting the money, engaging in the community and having talks to reach this first step,” said Jury. “If we can’t get past this first step, how are we going to manage the fires that can occur.”
With the dry season ongoing, the farm said replacing the fencing is crucial to protect their community hub.
“Our farm has been doing this work since the 1970’s and so we’re a learning center and we have 4,000 school children come up and visit us every year,” Enos said.
The farm is hoping to raise funds to quickly get the fencing replaced. In the meantime, if anyone knows anything about the theft, contact Ka’ala Farms and Learning Center.
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“It takes the community, it takes all of us and we can see what’s going on in our backyard we can see what’s happening,” Enos said.