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State Of Emergency Declared In Hawaii As Lava Flow Inches Toward Homes

The volcano alert level was raised from a watch to warning as a lava flow approached a community on the Big Island.

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Hawaii County mayor Billy Kenoi declared a state of emergency Thursday as a lava flow approached a remote home subdivision.

USGS Tim Orr

The lava is threatening the Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision on the Big Island, and could reach the community within the next week, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"We are taking this step to ensure our residents have time to prepare their families, their pets, and their livestock for a safe and orderly evacuation from Kaohe in the event the flow continues to advance," Kenoi told KHON-TV.

The U.S. Geological Survey also raised the volcano alert level Thursday from a watch to warning.

USGS Tim Orr

The increased threat status means that a hazardous flow is "imminent, underway or suspected," according to Hawaii News Now.


The lava began flowing June 27 from Kīlauea, a shield volcano that includes the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater.

USGS Tim Orr

Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is part of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone. If first started erupting on Jan. 3, 1983 and has been going ever since, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The current lava flow is the first time homes have been threatened since 2011.

The lava is advancing at an average rate of about 820 feet per day.

AP Tim Orr

Since the current flow began, it has progressed about 8.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. On Wednesday, It was less then a mile from the eastern edge of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

U.S. Geological Survey video of the eruption showed smoke rising from multiple areas in the forest.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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