2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 4 Aug 2003 15:02:24 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Anger still burns at Makua
Anger still burns at Makua
By Allison Schaefers
Monday, August 4, 2003

Old tensions between the Army and Leeward Coast residents who have long
opposed military use of Makua Military Reservation were still smoldering
yesterday at a community briefing called by the Army to discuss a recent
fire in the valley.

Col. David Anderson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Hawai'i, shows
where a prescribed burn went out of control last week in Makua Valley.
The fire scorched more than half of the valley sacred to many Native

Many Native Hawaiians and environmental stewards attended the briefing
to express their displeasure with the military's presence in the valley.
The briefing was delayed more than two hours so Native Hawaiians and
their supporters could host a religious ceremony.

Col. David Anderson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Hawai'i, said the
Army called the briefing to talk about a recent fire in Makua Valley  a
controlled burn that went badly out of control  to answer questions
about what happened and offer an assessment of damage to threatened and
endangered species.

"We believe the community's interest is extremely important, and it's
our intent to tell you everything we know  the good, the bad and the
ugly," Anderson told those gathered at the briefing. He acknowledged
that the fire was mismanaged.

Yesterday, about 60 people marched onto the reservation chanting as they
surveyed the still-smoking scorched hills. Most wore black sashes and
carried ho'o kupu offerings, such as native plants. They placed the
gifts at a stone altar in a symbolic gesture of forgiveness. Others
carried signs such as "Army Out."

On July 22, the Army lost control of a prescribed burn that scorched
2,100 acres  more than half of the 4,190-acre valley many Hawaiians
consider sacred, reigniting criticism of the Army's more than 50-year
use of the land for training.

The fire also burned approximately 150 acres of unoccupied O'ahu Elepaio
Critical Habitat on Army lands and approximately six acres of O'ahu
Plant Critical Habitat on adjoining state lands.

The burn was supposed to make it easier for the Army to find and remove
unexploded ordnance, and for Hawaiians to gain access to cultural sites.
According to the military, the burn got out of control when winds
shifted three hours after ignition. The fire was brought under control
the next day, but the damage had been done, protesters said.

William Aila, a member of the Hawaiian group Hui Malama o Makua, led the
procession and later demanded that Army officials put an end to fires
and military training in Makua Valley.

"The Army fire-management plan failed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
oversight failed, and overall management of Makua has failed," Aila

The fire desecrated and damaged cultural areas and resources, members of
DMZ Hawaii and Aloha 'Aina said. It pushed endangered species closer to
extinction, damaged fragile native ecosystems and drove alien predators
deeper into native forest areas, they said.

Anderson said one silver lining is that the fire allows more unexploded
ordnance analysis and uncovered more cultural resources.

This article can be viewed at:

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