Fire, strong winds close two Maui state forest reserves

Published On: Jun 18 2012 04:24:56 PM HST   Updated On: Jun 18 2012 04:27:27 PM HST
KAHULUI, Hawaii -

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the Makawao State Forest Reserve due to an ongoing forest fire a above the Kahakapao reservoir.  The Kula Forest Reserve is also closed due to potential danger from falling trees that may be caused by high winds.

The fire in Makawao is 40 percent contained at approximately 4 acres amid eucalyptus and non-native shrubs.   Maui Fire Department crews first responded to the fire with help of two helicopters doing water drops.   DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife firefighters took on the ground fighting tasks Monday morning with 12 field personnel.

A high wind advisory has been issued by National Weather Service for the fire area; winds are 15 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour.  Weather conditions are cloudy with high humidity.

"Due to the high winds and risk of danger from falling trees and branches, the Kula State Forest Reserve, including Polipoli Spring State Park, has been temporarily closed for public safety. We ask the public to be cautious and avoid these areas while risks exist," said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

The National Weather Service High issued a high wind warning for upper elevations, 6,000 feet and above, on Sunday.  State Forestry personnel were called out Sunday evening to remove fallen trees from the forest road to Polipoli Spring State Park so stranded persons could leave.

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers were on scene Monday morning to evacuate 10 individuals who were camping at the state park or in other areas, out via the Skyline Road via Haleakala National Park.

They also closed the gate to the Park and Forest Reserve on Waipoli Road.  A closure sign is posed at Waipoli Road gate and at Skyline Road gate.  It will remain closed until the high wind event subsides and the road is clear.


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