HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii: A planned 130 acre burn at the bottom of Chain of Craters Road in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is planned for today, August 19.
The burn will take place in Kealakomowaena, and will last through out the day.
The National Park issued this media release on Thursday:
The 130-acre burn will regenerate the growth of native pili grass and other indigenous plant species, as well as maintain a cultural landscape once occupied by families living in the Kealakomo ahupua‘a. There are no closures planned, and park visitors and normal park activities will not be impacted.
Kealakomowaena is an island of vegetation, or kīpuka, spared by recent lava flows in the middle of the Kealakomo ahupua‘a. Hawaiians thrived in this coastal lowland area, growing sweet potatoes, harvesting fish and drying salt. House sites, trails, lava rock walls and agricultural plots are found throughout Kealakomowaena. The controlled burn will be done in a manner to help maintain the traditional landscape of the area.
Controlled burning is part of a comprehensive restoration plan for the coastal lowland ecosystem at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Historically, controlled fire in this area has proved beneficial in reducing the dominant alien woody plant and grass species, allowing park resource managers to plant seeds of native species and reintroduce the pili grassland system.
An eight-person fire crew will administer the controlled burn, expected to last all day Friday. There will be a pullout along Chain of Craters Road at the top of the Hōlei Pali where park visitors may stop and watch the controlled burn taking place throughout the day.
“These types of prescribed burns are beneficial as they fortify the cultural landscape by stimulating the growth of native vegetation,” said Fire Management Officer Joe Molhoek.
June 4, 2009 – Controlled burn at HVNP’s Kealakomowaena
This video shows a 103-acre controlled burn of a kipuka at Kealakomowaena, undertaken in 2009.
Today’s burn will appear similar, especially from this Chain of Craters Road overlook.
(Voice by Tim Bryan)