HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A fungus that has killed thousands of native ohia trees on Hawaii's Big Island has attracted the attention of local and federal government officials, who have been calling for increased efforts to fight the disease.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz asked U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell this week for more federal support in battling rapid ohia death.
The action comes after the Hawaii County Council passed a resolution aimed at preventing the disease's spread through the involvement of various county departments. Council members have also been working to get Gov. David Ige to issue an emergency declaration, which would bring about federal funding that could be used for researching the disease.
The fungus has affected more than 36,000 acres of native forest.