(PAHOA, Hawaii) — A lava flow is bearing down on homes in Hawaii, with the lava advancing up to 10 yards per hour, officials said.
The lava was within 70 yards of the nearest residential property Monday and continued to advance overnight.
The lava is blistering hot, burying streets and covering trees. Residents in the scenic town of Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big Island were forced to flee, powerless to stop the approaching river of lava.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do,” resident Theresa Zendejas said. “It’s really scary.”
The lava has been spewing from the Kilauea volcano since it erupted in June. The lava flow has traveled 12 miles since then, at times speeding up erratically, recently fanning out to cover more ground.
Officials say there is no way to stop the lava, but they’re working to protect power poles from burning and to create detours in case the main road is affected — which would cut off access for thousands of people. Hawaii officials are making arrangements for those living in the lava’s path.
Beyond being buried by dozens of feet of hardened black rock, structures could also catch fire by being near the 2,000-degree lava.
Since Kilauea’s current eruption began in 1983, unstoppable lava flows have added 500 new acres to the island and destroyed at least 181 homes, a visitor center, a church and a community center, according the National Park Service.
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