Lava erupting from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has forced residents to evacuate their homes. The active lava flow on Big Island gained further speed as it advanced toward a residential neighborhood on Sunday. According to HawaiiNewsNow, authorities warned last night that evacuations could “begin within hours.” At 9:30 p.m. Sunday, authorities said the flow front was moving at 15-20 yards per hour.
Flow front pushes through a Buddhist cemetery
The flow had advanced about 170 yards between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. It was located just 600 yards from the Pahoa village road. Hawaii County officials have closed the Pahoa village road between Post Office road and Apa Street. Officials have told dozens of residents to be prepared for evacuations by Tuesday. They said the timeline for evacuation could change depending on the flow rate.
Public safety and Civil Defense personnel were stationed in the area to monitor the flow. Pahoa is the largest town in the rural region of Puna. With a temperature of close to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the lava pushed through a Buddhist cemetery on the edge of Pahoa on Sunday night. The Red Cross said that it had opened a shelter to help any evacuees.
Hawaii volcano has been erupting since 1983
The Kilauea volcano has been erupting since 1983. Its continuous eruption has caused serious damage to businesses and homes. Most lava has flowed south in the past. But the lava began flowing northeast about two years ago. The current flow that is threatening residents of Pahoa began in June. For the past several weeks, it has been moving towards the town fits and starts.
The director of civil defense for Hawaii County, Darryl Oliveira, said that the nearest home was about 300 yards from the flow front. Residents said they could see the lava front from their balcony as they prepared to evacuate. A large number of residents had already identified places where they would go. Only a few said they might need to go to shelters.