National Park Service firefighters have spent the week trying to prevent the wild fire ignited by Kilauea Volcano from spreading through a protected rain forest that is inhabited by endangered Hawaiian plants and animals.
Nearly 100 acres of the 2,750-acre east rift zone’s special ecological area, an intact lowland rain forest, have already destroyed in the fire ignited March 5 by an eruption at the Kamoamoa fissure.
As of today, the Napau wildfire on the east rift zone of the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano has destroyed 2,000 acres approximately seven miles southeast of the Kilauea Visitor Center.
The area is the home of the endangered Hawaiian bat, Hawaiian hawk, and other uniquely Hawaiian plants and animals such as Hawaiian thrush, lama and sandalwood trees, happy face spiders, carnivorous caterpillars, and Hawaiian honeycreepers said Gary Wuchner, National Park Service fire information spokesman.
Mardi Lane, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman, described the area as “pristine.”
“It best represents what Hawaii was and is a seed source for plants and refuge for birds,” Lane said.
“It is a living laboratory of Hawaiian plants and animals.”
Firefighters will be working to keep flames from spreading beyond the 100 acres of the refuge
I was asked to do a demo on how to make a Hawaiian style Christmas wreath at the Kino’ole Farmers Market. The demo was yesterday morning and in spite of lots of rain, the market was lively! We had several people sit through the whole thing (2 hours!) and some came and went and at least 4 people tried their hand at adding a bit to the wreath.
To make a Hawaiian style wreath, you use native plant materials for which you need to go foraging up to the Volcanoes National Park area or on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea on Saddle Road (this is on the island of Hawai’i also known as the Big Island). Before you even start, the first thing you need to do to be able to pick in those areas is to get a special permit, which is free, from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. This permit should be on your car dash clearly visible in case a ranger or other official should stop by to see what you’re up to.
The second thing you do is look around for a good spot in which to forage or go with someone who is already familiar with several choice picking spots. As with most people who make this style wreath, I have my own particular favorite place to pick.
The third thing you need is to know what plant material to look for and what dries well so that the wreath will still look beautiful after its no longer fresh.
If you know all of that already, then you’re ready to start.