Three men from Kazakhstan cited for entering closed area on Mauna Loa

  • DOCARE cited three foreign nationals Wednesday for entering a restricted area on Mauna Loa.

UPDATED 1:40 p.m.

Three men from Kazakhstan were cited Wednesday after being observed by three different law enforcement agencies in the closed area of the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.


The reserve was closed shortly after the current eruption of Mauna Loa to protect people from risk of injury or worse.

An officer from the DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, or DOCARE, was notified by an Army police officer assigned to the Pohakuloa Training Area that he’d observed three people walking in the active lava flow area off Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Subsequently, an officer from the Hawaii Police Department contacted the trio as they walked back to their car in the public viewing area. When the DOCARE officer arrived on scene, he cited them for entering a closed area.

The three men cited are 31-year-old Adibayev Axamat, 23-year-old Daurem Sabit and 32-year-old Nurz Niyaz.

All three men are scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court on Jan. 20 on petty misdemeanor charges and could face fines up to $500 and/or jail time of 30 days.

DOCARE also is investigating people and companies who have entered the closed area and posted shots of themselves and lava flows on social media. Some of those who have posted their unlawful entry on social platforms are receiving death threats.

“The Mauna Loa Forest Reserve and active lava zone is closed for a reason,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said. “Eruptive activity can seriously injure or kill people. There are hidden dangers and when someone enters a closed area they are also putting first responders at risk if they’re called for help.”


Lava is no longer threatening Daniel K. Inouye Highway, say Hawaiian Volcano Observatory researchers.

The leading edge of the Mauna Loa lava flow was 1.75 miles from the highway this morning, said HVO Deputy Scientist in Charge David Phillips. However, he said the supply of lava from Fissure 3 has been cut off from the flow front.

Phillips said the eruption continues, but lava is no longer feeding the primary lava channel formed over the last week. Instead, he said, it is covering lava that had been deposited earlier and spreading outward from the fissure in no particular direction.

“It’s still generating lava flows, but those lava flows are now localized around the fissure,” Phillips said.

The flow front is no longer substantially advancing toward the highway, Phillips said, although it may creep forward as the mass of lava settles.

HVO research geologist Frank Trusdell said it is also very unlikely that lava from Fissure 3 will be able to “restart” the primary lava flow front.

In addition, Phillips said Fissure 3 appears to be emitting lava at a lower rate. However, tremors are still being detected beneath Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone, indicating that magma is still being supplied to the fissure.

Trusdell said the eruption could be transitioning from a highly effusive phase that produces more viscous ‘a‘a lava to a less effusive phase that produces more fluid pahoehoe lava, but more observations are necessary to make that determination.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, garrison commander for the Pohakuloa Training Area, said more than 20,000 vehicles have traversed the Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route so far.

Hawaiian cultural practitioner Noe Noe Wong-Wilson said the Royal Order of Kamehameha will clean the area around the mitigation route Friday to “prepare for the arrival of Madame Pele,” and urged drivers to clean up after themselves.

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