hawaii lava flow volcano big island kilauea evacuation methane
The lava flow increased speed on Sunday, prompting evacuations as it headed toward a residential area. (Photo: Greg Bishop/Flickr)

Lava Nears Town, Residents Prepare to Flee

Just 100 yards from the nearest home

hawaii lava flow volcano big island kilauea evacuation methane
Chris Cohen

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

As lava encroaches on Pahoa, Hawaii, residents have been warned that they might need to evacuate, according to an Associated Press report. Pahoa, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is situated on the northeast slope of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Lava has been flowing toward the village since June. But now the flows, which have been moving at about 15 yards per hour, are a direct threat to structures in the village. Officials also fear the lava flows will cross roads and cut off access to the community.

Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. Since then, most lava has moved to the south and avoided populated areas, but property destruction is not unheard of: about 200 homes were destroyed by lava in the 1990s. But over the past two years, lava has begun to flow to the populated northeast. And while lava flows are extremely difficult to predict, the call to evacuate could come in the next few days.

Filed to:
Lead Photo: Greg Bishop/Flickr