Two Hilo Residents Cited for Loitering in Closed Eruption Area

Two Hilo residents were recently cited by a DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources officer for loitering in a closed area under Hawai‘i County ordinance (HCC7-10), according to DLNR officials.

DOCARE reports 32-year old Alexander White and 41-year old Ruth Moss were cited in the closed area at the bottom of Highway 137 near MacKenzie State Recreation Area. They were with two children and were observed walking along the shoreline at Coconut Grove on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

The DOCARE officer says the adults and two children did not have personal protection equipment (PPE) and SO2 (sulfur dioxide) readings were 2.3 parts per million (PPM) earlier in the day. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sets the safe level for S02 at less than 2.0 ppm.

All four people were escorted back to the road block on Highway 137 where White and Ross were cited.

Under a supplemental proclamation from Governor Ige, fines for being in areas restricted or closed due to the continuing East Rift Zone Eruption can reach as high as $5000, with up to one year in jail. Since the eruption began this brings the number of people cited by DOCARE and Hawai‘i County Police to 76.

Photo: June 22 image of an early morning view of the open lava channel beginning about 5 km (3.1 miles) from Fissure 8. The channel was bending 90 degrees to the south (right) on the far side of Kapoho Crater (cone in middle) and continued to the ocean where the steam plume is visible in the image at the middle right. Somewhat cooled (dark) crusts on the lava flowsurface are visible in the central part of the flow, contrasting with the incandescent edges in the early morning light. USGS image.