Fungus responsible for killing ohia trees spreads to Maui in first confirmed case

Fungus responsible for killing ohia trees spreads to Maui in first confirmed case
Ohia trees are under threat from a violent fungus that has already killed off thousands of acres on Hawaii Island. (Source: DLNR)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rapid Ohia Death fungus is spreading — and according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, it’s now on the Valley Isle.

The lesser aggressive strain of the fungus was found in a tree on a private property in East Maui.

The DLNR said the 15 to 20-foot-tall tree was located next to a lo’i and no other ohia trees, so they believe it is an isolated case.

It was the first time Rapid Ohia Death has been found on Maui.

“This one tree is located away from other ohia trees, so this appears to be an isolated case. It will be treated immediately by torching or burning it," Lance DeSilva, the DLNR’s Maui Forest Management Supervisor, said.

Environmental specialists have been closely monitoring the violent fungus that has already killed thousands of acres of trees on Hawaii Island. It has also been detected on Kauai.

Aerial surveys are conducted across the state to track the spread of the disease. The next quarterly survey for Maui forests will take place on July 15.

Forest and wildlife staff will also reach out to residents in East Maui to spread awareness of the fungus and urge them to be on the lookout.

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