Pahoa residents balk at tree removal for lava prep

Pahoa residents balk at tree removal for lava prep

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Pahoa residents holding signs and blocking contractors halted plans to cut down monkey pod trees that fire officials say is necessary to respond to approaching lava.

Fire department officials want to cut down three trees near the Pahoa Senior Center to make room for fire trucks in the event lava crosses Highway 130.

Resident Toby Hazel tells Hawaii Tribune-Herald workers packed up their chain-saws and left after seeing 20 residents around the trees.

Deputy Fire Chief Renwick Victorino says it's necessary to cut down the trees to make room for two fire trucks, an ambulance and a tanker truck. He says falling branches damaging equipment is also a concern.

Residents plan to bring up the issue at a lava community meeting Thursday.

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