Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 55° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Lava heads toward Pahoa, Hawaii, home

The lava flow nears Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday.
The lava flow nears Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday.
Associated Press

PAHOA, Hawaii – After weeks of slow, stop-and-go movement, a river of asphalt-black lava destroyed a wooden shed Tuesday as it crept closer to homes in a Big Island community.

The lava flow easily burned down the empty shed at about 7:30 a.m., several hours after entering a residential property in Pahoa Village, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira.

A branch of the molten stream was less than the length of a football field from a two-story house. It could hit the home later Tuesday if it continues on its current path, Oliveira estimated.

Residents of Pahoa Village, the commercial center of the island’s rural Puna district south of Hilo, have had weeks to prepare for what’s been described as a slow-motion disaster. Most have either already left or are prepared to go.

At least 50 or 60 structures – including homes and businesses – are in the area likely to be hit.

On Tuesday morning, civil defense officials said the lava was about 500 yards from Pahoa Village Road, which runs through downtown and is one of the town’s main roads.

Josiah Hunt, who has a farm in a part of Puna that is not immediately threatened, described smelling burning grass, feeling warmth from the lava and hearing “popping and sizzling.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.