Lava flow from the Kilauea volcano that has been creeping toward inhabited areas of Hawaii’s Big Island for months is now just 70 metres from the nearest residential property, authorities say, ABC News reports.
Authorities have recommended residents in the path of the lava evacuate from their homes, and smoke advisories have been issued for downwind areas, the County of Hawaii said in a civil defence alert.
The lava flow, which first bubbled out of the continuously erupting volcano on June 27, came to a standstill in late September, but resumed its slow crawl forward several weeks ago and had moved about 275 metres since Sunday morning.
The leading edge of the flow, which is about 110 metres wide and spreading, is now heading toward Pahoa village, a historic former sugar plantation consisting of small shops and homes with a population of about 800 people.
The civil defence message said the lava was advancing about 10 to 15 metres an hour and that authorities would be monitoring it around the clock. Two roads have been closed.
The Kilauea volcano has erupted from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Janet Babb said lava from the volcano usually headed south into the ocean, but this time was moving north-easterly towards a more populated area.
The last home destroyed by lava on the Big Island was at the Royal Gardens subdivision in Kalapana in 2012.