will be a focus on tort liability in order to protect customers from significant increases in their energy bills resulting from fires. Emergency preparedness will be a major topic in next year’s legislative sessions, addressing issues such as wildfire management and building regulations to reduce the risk of fires. Wildfire prevention is seen as a critical issue, and lessons can be learned from previous incidents. The House of Representatives wildfire prevention working group has reviewed causes of fires in Hawaii and suggests prevention and mitigation measures, including creating fire breaks.
Efforts will be made to improve fire prevention plans and work with communities, particularly in drought-prone areas. A draft report found that 99% of wildfires in Hawaii are human-caused, and there is a lack of requirements for fire-resistant materials and construction. There may be legislation in the future to address this.
Gregory Thielen, owner of Complete Construction Services, emphasizes that existing codes often include fire-resistant techniques, but mandating specific materials could make housing more expensive. Informational briefings will be conducted to gather community input and inform future legislation. Food security is also a concern, as Hawaii imports 80% of its food. The Governor plans to submit a comprehensive legislative package to better protect residents against the risk of fires, including additional secure lines and enhancements to alert systems throughout the state, not just on Maui..