DLNR closing Mauna Kea Forest Reserve due to fire risk - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DLNR closing Mauna Kea Forest Reserve due to fire risk

HILO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced Wednesday that they will close portions of the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and the Kaohe Game Management Area for three months, due to extreme fire danger as a result of drought conditions. The closure will starting Friday, June 4 and last through August 31unless sufficient rainfall occurs to reduce the fire risk.

"The closure is necessary to protect sensitive and important natural resources in the area. Although we recognize the inconvenience this closure may cause the public, it is an action we cannot avoid," said Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife District Manager Roger Imoto.

Hunting, hiking, bird watching, commercial activities and off road vehicle use will all be prohibited during the closure. The agency says however that public use of the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will remain unchanged during the summer months.

Rainfall accumulation in the area was only 20% of normal during the first four months of 2010. The western slopes of Mauna Kea have received little rainfall over the past year. The National Weather Service recently announced that the October 2009 to April 2010 Hawaiian Islands wet season was the driest in the past 30 years.

Photo source: Kenyan Beals via Connect Now

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