(BIVN) – With a Fire Weather Watch and a High Wind Watch in place for parts of Hawaiʻi island, some areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at most risk for wildfire will close to vehicles beginning Sunday, August 6 at 5 p.m.
Campfires will also be prohibited, the National Park Service says.
“Dry, stable, and breezy to windy trades are expected as deep high pressure to the north moves in tandem with Hurricane Dora, which is forecast to pass south of the islands,” the National Weather Service wrote on Sunday morning. Critical fire weather conditions are highly likely beginning Monday, as relative humidity will be low.
From a NPS news release:
Based on severe fire weather conditions in the forecast and elevated fire danger in some park areas, Mauna Loa Road will close to vehicles past the gate at Kīpukapuaulu and Hilina Pali Road will close to vehicles past the gate beyond Kulanaokuaiki Campground. Pedestrians and bicycles are allowed.
In addition, all campfires and open flame cooking fires will be prohibited at Kīpukapuaulu day use area, Namakanipaio Campground, and the fire pit near the Kilauea Military Camp ballfield.
“Although rain is common at the summit of Kīlauea, other areas in the park are extremely dry with low humidity and the park has entered into a high fire risk index in those areas,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Fire Operations Specialist Matt Desimone. “Safety is always our top priority, as well as the protection of the park’s cherished natural and cultural resources.”
Limiting vehicle access to remote areas with dry vegetation and low humidity is necessary for wildfire prevention. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers are a common cause of wildfires. A hurricane entering the Central Pacific is exacerbating the fire risk.
With maximum sustained winds near 140 mph, Dora is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The storm is forecast to continue moving westward across the central Pacific basin for the next several days, passing well south of Hawaiʻi island early this week.