HONOLULU (KHON2) — Three men were cited on Wednesday after entering a closed-off area of the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The DLNR said the area was closed after the initial eruption of Mauna Loa in order to protect people from potential injuries.

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An Army police member said he saw three people walking in the closed and active lava flow area off Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

A DOCARE officer cited the men for entering the closed area.

According to DLNR, they are expected to appear in Hilo District Court on Jan. 20, 2023.

They could face 30 days of jail time or fines of up to $500 on petty misdemeanor charges.

DOCARE is said to also be investigating people and companies who have entered the closed area and posted photos of themselves and lava flows on social media.

Some of those who have posted their unlawful entry on social platforms are receiving death threats, according to the DLNR.

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DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “The Mauna Loa Forest Reserve and active lava zone is closed for a reason. Eruptive activity can seriously injure or kill people. There are hidden dangers and when someone enters a closed area they are also putting first responders at risk if they’re called for help.”