Volunteer fire spotting may continue

KOKE’E—One month after the Department of Land and Natural Resources reopened

some previously off-limits sections of wilderness, there have been no fires

despite drought conditions that caused the closure.

The reopened sections

of Koke’e—Waimea Canyon State Park, Pu`u Pele Forest Reserve and all ridge

roads to Contour Road (roads extending beyond Contour are open weekends

only)—had been closed due to fire hazards caused by the lengthy


Tom Telfer, a Division of Forestry and Wildlife (on Kaua`i)

biologist, aid using hunters as volunteer fire spotters—the deal worked out

before the ban was lifted last month—will probably be extended.


preparing to go ahead and do our black-tailed deer season” weekends only,

beginning Sept. 16-17 and running until Oct. 28-29), Telfer said.


it’s feral goat and feral pig season, according to Telfer.

Telfer said the

hunters on Kaua`i are a knowledgable bunch and that using them as fire spotters

has worked well.

The volunteer fire spotters have no enforcement authority

but must call for authorities.

Hunters will be needed to volunteer to

continue the unpaid work if the hunting areas opened for feral pigs and goats

is to extend into deer season.

“We need 16 hours” daily of volunteers’

time, Telfer said.

Approximately 1,200 hunters applied for licenses to

stalk the approximately 1,700 feral goats roaming the Na`pali Coast and Waimea


According to Telfer, the there are at least 1,000 black-tail deer

in Waimea. He said the species was introduced into the islands from Oregon by

the state of Hawai`i in 1961.

“It would never happen now. They are

browsers—eat native vegetation. They are a blessing and a curse together.

There are literally hundreds of endangered (native plant) species and a couple

dozen weeds. The deer eat some of the weeds, but they also eat some of the

native plants,” Telfer said.

Bringing the deer to Hawai`i was a mistake, he


“It would have been better if they had never been introduced. But

they could never be eradicated now,” he said.

Staff writer Dennis

Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and dwilken@pulitzer.net


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