Some residents on the Big Island of Hawaii could be forced to flee their homes because of flowing lava from the erupting Kilauea Volcano.
Emergency coordination teams are going door to door — helping homeowners prepare for a possible evacuation.
The lava crossed a road on the edge of Pahoa, the largest town in the mostly rural region of Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii, at 3.50am local time. It is currently about 1km from Pahoa Village Rd, the town’s main street.
The county will issue a mandatory evacuation order if the flow begins advancing at such a rate that it would be difficult for people to move out of the way with little notice.
Hazardous materials, like a pile of tyres or a stockpile of chemicals in the flow’s path would also trigger a mandatory evacuation, Darryl Oliveira, director of civil defence for Hawaii County said.
Burning asphalt was generating some smoke, but Oliveira said the wind dispersed the fumes over unpopulated areas and it did not pose a health risk at the moment.
Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983. Most lava from this eruption has flowed south, but the lava has flowed to the north east in the past two years.
Sporadic suspensions in the lava’s movement gave emergency crews time to work on building alternate routes if the main road and highway are covered. Crews have been wrapping utility poles with concrete rings as a layer of protection from the lava’s heat.