(BIVN) – Officials and media gathered on Highway 137 near MacKenzie State Park, at the location where lava crossed the Puna road before entering the ocean overnight.
The lava was still hot on Sunday afternoon, as media and their National Guard escorts took photos. While they were there, Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe and a cohort of emergency officials and firefighters arrived on the scene.
“We’re just assessing the situation right now,” Okabe told video journalist Daryl Lee. “We’re trying to keep people out of this particular area.”
As Okabe spoke, an explosion sounded behind him, sending media and soldiers scurrying down the highway away from the lava.
“Definitely, to stay out of the area,” Okabe continued, “be safe, listen to civil defense, get the current information so that we can ensure safety.”
Okabe said that even thought the flow blocked Highway 137, residents on the Kalapana side of the flow “still have access back on Highway 130, so there is a opportunity for them to still get out,” the managing director said. “But they need to really pay attention to what’s happening because anything can happen.”
“Madame Pele… can come out at any time,” Okabe said, “but we don’t want to cause panic. We want them to just be well informed, that’s it.”