East Hawaii News

Mauna Loa Road in HVNP Temporarily Closed Because of Wildfire

July 12, 2022, 12:00 PM HST
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National Park Service photo/J.Wei

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park reports that Mauna Loa Road is closed to the public because of a wildfire.

The roadway is closed from the gate at the Kīpukapuaulu parking lot. Only authorized vehicles are permitted until further notice.

National Park Service photo/M.Wasser

The wildfire was first reported at 6:09 p.m. Monday, July 11, and was estimated to encompass about 46 acres by Tuesday morning. A fire crew of about 30 firefighters, a helicopter, several fire engines and a water tender are on scene. Fire personnel reported that good progress was made overnight Monday to contain the blaze.

The fire started on a power line road at about 4,800 feet in elevation on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa and is burning through dry grasses, native shrubs and trees in the footprint of the 2018 Keauhou fire, toward Kapāpala Ranch. Hazards include snags from previously burned koa and ʻōhiʻa trees and extremely rough uneven lava rock terrain.

The fire also damaged about 1,760 feet of ungulate-proof fence, which protects native forest from non-native hooved animals such as goats, sheep and cattle. It is burning through forest that provides habitat for native birds, including ʻapapane, ʻelepaio and ʻamakihi.

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No homes or other structures are threatened at this time. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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