Officials: 18 arrested for loitering in lava zone
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Eight more people were issued citations Saturday for loitering in a disaster area as Hawaii’s Big Island continues to deal with lava flow from the Kilauea volcano.
Officers have issued 18 total citations in the last week to people for bypassing checkpoints and entering dangerous areas, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) said in a statement.
County police also issued citations Sunday morning to people who were being rescued by air, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported .
They also were cited for loitering and refusing to vacate a disaster area.
It’s unknown at this time how many citations have been written.
Citations for loitering are petty misdemeanors punishable by 30 days in jail, but the penalties can be greater for loitering in a disaster area.
“These people need to think,” said Deputy DOCARE Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla. “They are not only putting themselves into potentially life-threatening situations, but we can’t completely lock gates or erect impassable barricades in areas where people have only one way out — these are the routes loiterers are using to gain up-close access.”