Pahoa in South East Hawaii is an eclectic mix of styles, cultures and ways of life. But life as they know it could soon change forever.
Since June 27th, lava that once flowed south east from the volcanic vent, Pu’u O’o, has shifted north through forests toward Pahoa.
Wildfire spreads out in the fields and forests west of Pahoa. The black and reddish flow creeps across the jungle terrain and at times in underground lava tubes beneath the tropical canopy.
In August, Hurricane Iselle uprooted many trees across south eastern Hawaii island–especially the albizia species of african trees that once loomed over many of the homes in and around Pahoa. Now wildfires are claiming more of the dense forest.
From town, the plume of dark volcanic smoke is easily visible, rising over homes, businesses and government buildings.
USGS scientists warned residents that the flow could arrive at Pahoa village road within days, and at HWY 130 by the following week.
Without the highway, daily commutes would be hard or impossible, supermarkets, gas stations and hospitals would become inaccessible; leaving residents without amenities and even necessities.