Tree-killing disease spreads to Kona

Tree-killing disease spreads to Kona

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - State officials have announced that a deadly tree fungus on Hawaii Island has spread to Kona and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the first time ever.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the Department of Land and Natural Resources reported Friday that ohia wilt now covers 34,000 acres of forest, more than double estimates made in 2014.

Forester Flint Hughes says it is possible for the fungus' spread on Kona to become as intense as it is in Puna. The disease, also known as rapid ohia death, has also been found in Ocean View Estates, which Hughes says was a surprise because of the area's dry conditions.

Officials say they are continuing efforts to prevent the spread of disease, which was first discovered in Puna forests around 2010.

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