Mauna Loa eruption: Hawaiians advised to prepare for evacuation

(ORDO NEWS) — People living on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island have been told to brace for the worst case scenario as the volcano continues to erupt and spit volcanic ash into the air.

Waves of orange, hot lava are flowing from the world’s largest active volcano during its first eruption in 38 years, and officials have told residents to be prepared to evacuate if lava flows start heading towards settlements.

While the Mauna Loa eruption does not pose an immediate threat to cities, the USGS has warned approximately 200,000 residents of the Big Island that the eruption “could be very dynamic and the location and progression of lava flows could change rapidly.”

Gov. David Ige said: “The lava flows are not currently threatening downslope communities and all indications are that the eruption will remain in the northeast rift zone.”

“Volcanic ash and possibly fine ash and Pele’s hair can be blown away by the wind. So of course we ask those with respiratory sensitivity to take precautions to minimize exposure.”

Pele’s hair is the name given to volcanic glass fibers.

The eruption began late Sunday evening after a series of fairly large earthquakes, said Ken Khon, scientific director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

The areas where the lava comes out the crater at the top of the volcano and the vents along the northeast flank of the volcano are far from homes and settlements.

Officials have urged the public to stay away from them given the danger posed by lava ejected 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 m) into the air from three separate fissures estimated to be 1 to 2 miles long. (1.6-3.2 km).

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