(BIVN) – A new eruption is underway at the summit of Kīlauea within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and park officials say all areas in the park that were open to the public before the new eruption, remain open.
“The return of lava to the summit of Kīlauea is a natural wonder, but we need the public to be fully aware that we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and to recreate responsibly, maintain social distance and to wear a mask,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh in a news release. “We want to keep the park open for all to experience this new phase of volcanic activity, and we need visitors to follow safety guidelines that keep everyone safe. We continue to work with USGS scientists to receive the latest volcanic updates, and remind visitors that the eruptive activity and accessibility could change at any time,” Loh said.
Vantage points for viewing the new eruption include Wahinekapu (Steaming Bluff), Kīlauea Overlook, Keanakākoʻi, Waldron Ledge and other overlooks along Crater Rim Trail. Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) remains closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
The National Park Service is reminding the public to stay safe by following these precautions:
- Volcanic eruptions can be hazardous and change at any time. Stay on marked trails and overlooks, and avoid earth cracks and cliff edges. Do not enter closed areas.
- Hazardous volcanic gases are billowing out the crater and present a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women.
- Slow down and drive safely. Expect long waits for parking spaces at popular vantage points like Kīlauea Overlook.
- Maintain social distance of six feet from others and wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- At 4,000 feet (1,219 meters), the summit of Kīlauea can be chilly at any time. Bring a rain jacket, wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.
This is the first time lava has been present on the island of Hawaiʻi since the dramatic 2018 Lower East Rift Zone eruption and Kīlauea caldera collapse. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has already lowered the Volcano Alert Level from Warning to Watch, and the Aviation Color Code from Red to Orange, reflecting the less-hazardous nature of the ongoing eruption.