(PAHOA, Hawaii) — Hawaii emergency officials acknowledged Sunday that the steady advance of red-hot lava into the small town of Pahoa appears “inevitable.”
The lava is now just a few hundred yards away from homes, close enough that residents can now see the reddish glow of molten lava at night, Hawaii County director of Civil Defense Daryl Oliveira said.
“It’s visible from their home and they are prepared for their evacuation,” Oliveira said Sunday on a conference call with reporters.
“Although this is not new or a surprise, it was definitely a disappointment and something maybe heartbreaking to hear that we’re moving closer to the point where it looks like it’s inevitable that the flow will be coming into the community,” he said.
Officials say they are still compiling exact numbers, but believe evacuation notices were issued Saturday to roughly 50 families, or households, that are directly in the lava’s path. Those families were told to prepare to evacuate as early as Tuesday.
“There are no less than 50 to 60 structures in there as far as residences,” Oliveira said. “The impact of this may be fairly significant depending on what starts to burn.”
People may be forced to leave sooner than Tuesday if the lava increases speed, he said.
Pahoa is a town of about 945 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioLava Advance Into Small Hawaii Town ‘Inevitable’
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