Residents of Pahoa in Hawaii’s Big Island all accept volcanic activity as part of the trade-off for living in an island paradise. For the present, they are taking a “wait and see” stance in hopes that the lava flow from the Kilauea volcano will stop and not require them to evacuate.
Shawn Heard, a shop owner in downtown Pahoa, the largest town in the district, said she still wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. Back in the 1980s, she had to move her house to avoid the possibility of being stranded in case the Kilauea lava flow blocked the only highway that connects her home to the town. She said she’s at peace with the possibility of having to do so again.
Another resident, bookstore owner Mary Bicknell, said of the volcano “We’re always watching it, but we’re not usually threatened by it.”
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that lava from one of the world's most active volcanos has been advancing at a slower pace the past few days. It is no longer heading toward Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision, but rather parallel to the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.
The latest local Civil Defense message released Tuesday advised the residents to continue to monitor the news and review their emergency plans. The surface flow is observed to be heading away from residential areas and currently poses no threat to residents, although this could change at any time.
“This morning's assessment shows the surface lava flow continues and is moving in a north/northeast direction. There is no wildfire threat at this time. Weather and fire conditions are being monitored closely. The surface flow has advanced approximately 400 yards since yesterday. Subsurface flow activity also continues. The surface flow is moving slowly and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents. The surface flow is located approximately 0.7 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary and moving in a north/northeast direction and parallel to the forest reserve boundary. Presently, the current activities and flow does not present an immediate or imminent threat to area communities,” according to Civil Defense.