(PAHOA, Hawaii) — A lava flow has reached properties in a small Hawaiian town, burning at least one building, with 40 to 50 homes and businesses at risk, officials said.
Thick clouds of smoke blanketed Pahoa on the Big Island as the river of molten lava seeped toward front doors.
Residents such as Sarah Williams focused on packing, trying to save anything they could.
“We’ve had so much to do that we’ve really just stayed focused on what we’ve had to do,” she said. “Luckily, it’s slow. But that’s also the downside, is it’s painfully slow in a way.”
The lava has left fiery destruction in its wake, swallowing structures and other materials in a ball of flames. Utility poles are being insulated and surrounded by dirt, with authorities hopeful that the lava will go around the utility poles.
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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