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Kauai firefighters battle stubborn park wildfire

Firefighters continue to battle a 100-acre wildland fire today on Kauai’s North Shore.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said Haena State Park and the access to Kalalau Trail remains closed as the massive fire continues to burn along the steep cliffs on Makana between the park and the National Tropical Botanical Limahuli Garden and Preserve.

Firefighters are having difficulty accessing the area due to the steep terrain.

Meanwhile, 14 firefighters of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife are currently battling hot spots while conservation enforcement officers are steering people away from the area.

Two helicopters including Kauai Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter are assisting with water drops.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“It’s believed the fire may have been started by an accidental escape from the ceremonial use of fire on Makana,” according to DLNR in a news release.

The fire doesn’t pose a serious threat to Limahuli Garden and Preserve at this time. The fire is located on a rugged part of the property that is dominated by invasive species, said Jon Letman of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in an e-mailed statement.

“We are very appreciative to the DLNR and Kauai Fire Department who have done an outstanding job to contain the fire and limited the potential threat to biodiversity that exists in Limahuli Garden and Preserve. We continue to monitor the situation.”

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