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Unrest at Kilauea volcano prompts some park closures

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                                View of Kilauea and Halemaumau Crater from Waldron Ledge, at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park has canceled all indoor programs and is also requesting visitors wear masks at its indoor venues due to high COVID-19 hospitalization admission levels in the county.

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    View of Kilauea and Halemaumau Crater from Waldron Ledge, at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park has canceled all indoor programs and is also requesting visitors wear masks at its indoor venues due to high COVID-19 hospitalization admission levels in the county.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has canceled all indoor programs and is also requesting visitors wear masks at its indoor venues due to high COVID-19 hospitalization admission levels in the county.

This action complies with the Department of the Interior Workplace Safety Plan, according to the National Park Service.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently has Hawaii County ranked as high for hospital admissions, with 37.2 new COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 people over the past week. CDC ranks admission levels at 20 per 100,000 or above as high.

Park managers use the CDC’s county check tool regularly to make decisions about masking requirements in parks, NPS said. High-quality masks should be worn by all individuals inside park buildings.

Today, the park also said it has temporarily closed Chain of Craters Road at the Devastation parking lot and nearby areas due to increased seismic activity.

Kilauea volcano is not erupting, but is showing signs of increased unrest as earthquakes spike in the upper East Rift Zone near Puhimau Crater, officials said.

Kilauea summit remains open between Uekahuna and Puupuai, including Nahuku lava tube, officials said. The Devastation Trail and parking area and the Keanakakoi Crater side of Kilauea caldera are temporarily closed.

“Decisions to temporarily close areas of the park are never easy but are made as a precaution,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh in a statement. “Kilauea volcano is very restless right now, and safety is our utmost priority. When USGS notifies us of significant changes, we will re-evaluate area closures.”

Due to unrest in the area south-southwest of Kilauea caldera, Mauna Iki Trail and a section of Kaʻu Desert Trail have been closed since October past the Footprints exhibit. The exhibit remains open and accessible from Highway 11.

Hilina Pali Road remains closed to vehicles past the Mauna Iki Trailhead due to severe wildfire risk. Kulanaokuaiki Campground remains open, but fire restrictions are in place.

Updates are available at nps.gov/havo.

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