USA – BRUSHFIRES have broken out on Hawaii’s Big Island after lava ignited trees and grass near the flow from Kilauea volcano’s fissure 8 – with reports of several houses being engulfed by flames.
And one resident of the island said firefighters had “no way” to battle the blaze, in an isolated area of the island, effectively.
A County of Hawaii statement said Hawaii Fire Department was monitoring fires on the south side of the lava flow in the area of Noni Farms Road.
Writing on the Hawaii Tracker Facebook page, Dane duPont, a resident of Leilani Estates who is keeping Islanders informed about the eruption via social media, said the fire had started near the 5.5 mile marker on Highway 32, spreading south west throughout the day.
He added: “This is by far the biggest brush fire we have seen yet.
“The fire being able to advance over a mile in a day shows how dry and dead the area near Halekamahina hill, and the south side of the lava channel has gotten.
“The area that the fire is burning is totally isolated, cut off by the lava flows over the past three months.
“There is no practical way for fire crews to battle this fire.
“The fire has reached up slope considerably today, destroying homes that the lava flows had previously spared.
“The fires remain active at this time in several pockets.
“This is sad news for many, my deepest condolences to those that lost their homes today.”
Lava has been closing in on the popular beauty spot of Pohoiki in recent weeks, and is currently stalled approximately 175 metres from the boat ramp at Isaac Hale Park, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).
Meanwhile motorists have been urged to be alert to changes in conditions between the 28 and 32 mile markers along Highway 11, which has multiple cracks in the road surface.
Similar cracks have appeared along Highway 130, although no significant changes in temperature, crack width, or gas emissions have been noted for several days.
Since the beginning of May, more than 2,000 people have been evacuated from homes near the volcano.
More than 700 homes have been destroyed so far, with more than 500 acres of new land created as a result of lava flows.
Residents are also have to contend with periodic poor air quality as a result of noxious vapours including vog and laze.
Susie Osborne, head of Kua Ka O La school, which was destroyed by lava earlier this month, told Express.co.uk this week the lives of islanders “had changed forever” as a result of the ongoing eruptive activity, which scientists admit would go on for years.