Puna Lava Flow: The Price of Paradise

Well, the volcano isn’t going to blow (at least not yet, then we’d really be in trouble) but there is lava coming down the mountain!

As if a direct hit of Hurricane Iselle last month wasn’t enough to contend with, Puna now has a lava flow heading straight for the main town of the district, Pāhoa.

I wish I was talking about one of these lava flows, as they’re quite yummy, but unfortunately, I’m not. [Sidenote: this pregnant lady misses cocktails!]

The lava flow I’m talking about is the result of a June 27th eruption near Puʻu Ōʻō and has slowly, but steadily been making its way towards the ocean all summer. Over the past week there has been a marked increase in the speed of the lava flow as it nears a residential area, Kaʻohe Homesteads.

See the USGS lava flow map here.

Those in the area expected to be affected have been making preparations over the last few weeks in the event that evacuations are ordered. From the most recent reports, it sounds like the lava could reach the Kaʻohe Homesteads as early as today.

Preparations seem to have ramped up into high gear over the last two days. It is expected that the lava will continue straight across Highway 130 which connects Pāhoa town with Hilo and the rest of the island. Construction began today on an emergency route that will bypass the highway when (not if) the lava cuts it off.

Thank God, the Hawaiian Acres subdivision where we live is located upslope from where the lava is flowing and our home will not be impacted. Once in awhile the wind shifts and we can smell the burning forest from the lava flow. Shane took this shot from the Volcano Highway (above our neighborhood) using his binoculars today. The white plumes of smoke are where the lava is burning the forest.

IMG_5776.JPG

Although our home won’t be directly impacted, this lava event will certainly keep Shane’s job interesting.

Obviously we don’t want to see any homes, property or lives destroyed. I’m praying for an act of God that will stop this flow before it causes any real damage.

I guess this is the price we pay for living in paradise [on the slopes of an active volcano], right? At any rate, it sure keeps life interesting!

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