POSTED: 08 JULY 2007 - 6:30pm HST

County use of
glyphosates & wildfires

image above: looking east along the Hanapepe River at dead plants caused by county spraying.

by Juan Wilson on 8 July 2007

Recently Kauai has suffered a spate of more half a dozen fires on the east side of the island. These fires have caused significant traffic delays and scorched hundreds of acres of land between the Wailua River and Hanamaulu.

Yes, there has been a draught. Yes, there is evidence that at least one fire might have been caused by arson. None the less, it seems to me that the County's use of glyphosate (RoundUp) as an herbicide might be contributing to the problem of wildfires.

Kauai County uses glyphosate universally along our county roads to control weeds. Miles of our roads are sprayed with the herbicide to kill every living plant along the road. Have you ever seen the signs when the county is spraying:

"Warning - Herbicide Spraying this week for the Next 5 Miles"

Since we only have one perimeter highway, what is a person sensitive to RoundUp to do? Hold their breath for five miles of driving? Turn around and try again next week? Just not get in the car any more.

Besides the health of the residents of Kauai, the County has another problem. When they spray miles of highway, a strip of dried dead tinder is created along the sides of our roads that could easily contribute fuel to a wildfire. One cigarette but and BOOM! All the tinder to start a forest fire is available to start the roadside haole koa roaring into firestorm. Leaving thousands of pounds of ugly tinder-dry dead grass along the side of the road can't help prevent fires.

This is just one more reason for the County to try actual landscaping, rather than deforestation as land management technique.

see also:
Island Breath: Levees in Danger 4/21/2007
Island Breath: Waimea School Poisoning 1/12/2007
Island Breath: End Hawaii Herbicide Use 2/28/2006
Island Breath: Roundup Free Kauai 3/31/2005
Island Breath: Pesticide in Hawaii 6/2/2004

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