DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
LAURA H. THIELEN, CHAIRPERSON
Phone: (808) 587-0401
Fax: (808) 587-0390
For Immediate Release:
DLNR Closes Leeward Oahu Forest Reserves
HONOLULU -- The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) today closed all state forest reserves in the Wai‘anae mountains, until further notice.
The closure includes the Kuaokala, Mokuleia, Makua-Kea‘au, Wai‘anae and Nanakuli Forest Reserves and the Kuaokala game management area (GMA) These areas are now closed to hiking, camping, hunting and all public activity and permits have been cancelled. The scheduled game bird hunt in Kuaokala GMA which was set to open the first weekend in November, has been suspended until the closure is lifted.
“Due to ongoing dry conditions and out of concern for public safety, we believe that the closure is in the best interest of the environment and its users,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson. “DOFAW staff are continuing to monitor forest conditions island wide.”
“Since July, we have already had several fires on forest reserve lands on O‘ahu, at Wa‘ahila, Waialua, Wai‘anae valley, Makaha, and yesterday a second fire at Kuaokala game management area,” said Thielen.
“All fuels, such as grass, shrubs, bushes and trees, are turning into kindling in current drought-like conditions. Yesterday in the Kuaokala game management area one of our employees put out a fire while clearing vegetation. He saw no one there but saw smoke rising from the slope below. Fortunately he was able to contain the quarter-acre fire and secure his equipment before calling it a day,” she said.
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife O‘ahu branch has been assisting the Honolulu Fire Department in fighting the Makaha fire since Friday evening. Conditions are hot, humidity is high, the terrain is rocky with thick brush and steep slopes. This fire has the potential to threaten the Wai‘anae forest reserves and portions of the Mt. Ka‘ala Natural Area Reserve.
For information on status of the Waianae range forest reserves closure call DOFAW at 973-9784 or 973-9785.
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