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During a special ceremony on Tuesday, December 3, at 1 p.m., Kohala by the Sea, a homeowners association on the Big Island of Hawaii, was presented with a special recognition award for maintaining their Firewise Communities/USA status for 10 years.  There are only 34 communities nationwide that have been recognized with this prestigious honor in 2013.  Community representatives, the Hawaii Fire Department Chief, Darren Rosario, and Denise Laitinen, the Firewise Communities Coordinator for the State of Hawaii were present to accept the award as well as recognition for their outstanding efforts from legislative representatives.
“The Hawaii Fire Department is proud of the Kohala By The Sea community for achieving national recognition for their efforts to protect their community from the potential devastating effects of wildfires,” said Fire Chief Darren Rosario.
“It’s important for communities to become Firewise for several reasons. The KBTS community and its neighbors were victims of serious fires in the early 1990s. It’s with their effort to be Firewise that I can proudly say as fire chief, it has made a difference.”
The program adapts especially well to small communities, developments, and homeowner associations of all types, says Denise Laitinen, the Firewise Communities Hawaii Coordinator. “The residents of Kohala By The Sea recognized that they live in a high fire hazard area and used a variety of free Firewise resources to reduce their threat to wildfires,” says Laitinen.
Kohala by the Sea had initially achieved national recognition by NFPA' s Firewise Communities/USA program  in December of 2003 and has renewed their recognition status every year for 10 years.  They realize the importance of working together with direction from their Fire Department and Denise Laitinen to make improvements to their homes and surrounding landscape.
Is your community a Firewise Community and if so have you completed your renewal process to maintain that status?  Working together like Kohala by the Sea year after year allows a community to continue to improve their outcome in the event of a wildfire! To Kohala by the Sea and their partners we say Mahalo (Thank you)!