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Mauna Kea State Recreation Area to reopen Sept. 6

MEDIA RELEASE

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will reopen the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area on Monday, Sept. 6.

The public is reminded to stay within the park area and avoid any of the burnt areas on the perimeter of the park which are included in the fire hazard closure area. The park was closed when a wildland fire started August 22 in the adjacent Pohakuloa Training Area and spread into the Mauna Kea forest reserve and edge of the park.

DLNR, Hawaii Fire Department and fire crews from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) teamed up to fight the fire jointly for 10 days and contain it at 1,387 acres in mostly mamane and naio native forest with grass understory.

DLNR’s costs for fighting the fire is estimated at over $500,000.

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) finished its mopup Friday
in the burn area of the fire along the south slope of Mauna Kea. PTA Fire will continue to mop up the burn area this weekend and monitor for the next several weeks to ensure underground smoldering does not resurface outside of the control lines.

The fire caused temporary closure of Saddle Road, released dust and smoke into the air and was a potential threat to facilities at Pohakuloa Training Area, Bradshaw Army Airfield, cabins at the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area, and did affect power and communication lines and poles within the utility corridor.

It also destroyed critical habitat and food sources for native palila forest birds in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire despite steep terrain, loose volcanic ash soils, and smoke to prevent further damage to property and avoid injuries.

DLNR reminds the public to use caution to prevent wildfire starts, since due to severe drought conditions this year, leeward areas are particularly dry.

For more information on Mauna Kea State Recreation Area call the Division of State Parks Hawaii district office at (808) 974-6200.

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