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Dry conditions prompt road closures in HVNP

In an effort to prevent wildfires, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed parts of Mauna Loa and Hilina Pali roads to motorized vehicles until further notice.

Despite ample rainfall in other parts of East Hawaii, Hilina Pali Road has only received about half-inch of rain since June 1. Dry grasses and shrubs along the road exacerbate fire danger.

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The road will be closed to motorists from the Kulanaokuaiki Campground to the Hilina Pali Lookout.

Similar conditions were observed on Mauna Loa Road, which also will be closed to vehicles from the gate at Kipukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout at 6,662 feet.

Open fires also will be prohibited at Namakanipaio campground, Kipukapuaulu picnic area and Kilauea Military Camp until further notice. Propane or gas cooking stoves are permitted.

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“Staying safe while protecting the natural and cultural resources of the park is our top priority,” HVNP Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk said. “Fire danger indexes in both areas are above the 90th percentile, and any ignitions that occur would be difficult to suppress and likely to result in a large fire.”

Pedestrians and bicyclists may continue to use both roads, and backcountry permit holders will be provided access to trailheads.

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