HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s public lands agency is warning people that they face arrest if found burning Christmas trees at an oceanic sandbar.

The sandbar is a popular gathering place for local boaters and tourists.

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources say a tradition of piling up Christmas trees for bonfires on the sandbar is harming the environment.

The slim stretch of reef and sand near a military installation is entirely surrounded by deeper ocean water.

The sandbar is sacred to many Native Hawaiians who call the site Ahu O Laka. The remains of a Hawaiian chief from Maui were buried there centuries ago.