As of Monday, the lava was about 2.16 miles from the highway, according to the US Geological Survey. The lava was moving at about 25 feet per hour, slower than the 40 feet per hour over the weekend.
According to the Department of Defense, the National Guard is expected to be active for 30 days, but the time frame may change as the situation changes. Members were previously called to respond to Kilauea eruptions in 2014 and 2018.
Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, erupted for the first time in nearly four decades on Nov. 27, while nearby Kilauea has been erupting for the past year.
The unique site is expected to “draw a flood of visitors to the national park hoping to see two rare eruptions from the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.” said in a post on Facebook.
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The two volcanoes are 21 miles apart and have also erupted at the same time in 1984 — at the same time Mauna Loa erupted for the last time.
Neither eruption poses a threat to nearby homes, but the volcanoes could affect air quality, officials said.
All of the Daniel K. Inouye Freeway is now open, but adjacent areas are closed and off limits to the public, Hawai’i County Mayor Mitch Roth said Monday.
“Because the lava is where it is, we are confident that the lava will not affect any residential areas,” Roth said at a press conference on Monday. “There are a lot of (moving) parts. How fast is he moving? How close it comes to the highway. How long will it take if the risks we see are there.
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The U.S. Geological Survey echoed that sentiment, noting that “many variables are at play,” making it difficult to determine how the lava flow will affect the public.
“The timing of the flow surge is expected to vary from a few hours to a few days, making it difficult to predict when or if the flow will affect the Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” the geological survey said.