Agencies enforce 'zero-tolerance policy' for violators of lava closures

Agencies enforce 'zero-tolerance policy' for violators of lava closures
Here's a look at the vehicle the couple who were cited used. (Image: DLNR)

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has a message for those hoping to sneak into areas closed off amid ongoing eruptions: Don't.

On Monday night, a New York couple was cited after entering with active lava flows in lower Puna.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the pair bypassed a security checkpoint on Highway 132 and parked outside of the closed Lava Tree State Monument. They were cited for loitering and refusal to evacuate during a pending disaster.

"The volcano emergency is an ever-changing situation and people who ignore closures and warnings from police, fire and civil defense authorities not only put themselves in potentially life-threatening situations, but they are doing the same to our officers and emergency first-responders," said Jason Redulla, chief of the department's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, in a news release.

Separately, officers say that the owner of a boat tied up at Pohoiki Boat Ramp received three citations for various boat safety equipment violations. The boat will not be able to return to the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor in Hilo.

The DLNR says all of the citations issued Monday night are petty misdemeanors, but may carry higher penalties because they happened during a disaster situation.

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