Drought causing shutdown of sections of forest reserve
Big Island drought conditions that have led to extreme fire danger are forcing the closure of portions of the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and the Ka'ohe Game Management Area.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources yesterday said the closure will begin June 4 and run until Aug. 31. The closure may be lifted earlier if rainfall conditions allow, or it may have to be extended if drought conditions persist.
All public activities will be affected by the closure, including hunting, hiking and bird watching. However, public use of the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area remains unchanged.
The closed area includes portions of the forest reserve, below 10,000 feet elevation, between Waikahalulu Gulch, south to the gate 1.1 miles past Kemole, all of the Ka'ohe Game Management Area, and all roads in the Ahumoa and Skyline area.
Rainfall in the region from January to April was about 20 percent of normal.