Threatened by lava flowing uncharacteristically south east from the Kilauea volcano, most residents of the small Hawaiian town of Pahoa have been forced to evacuate. The lava flow has already consumed the local cemetery and is threatening the road that leads in and out of the area. According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Director, residents will be allowed to watch as the lava engulfs their homes. Many others who have come to see the lava crawl first hand will be turned away.
At night the red glare was visible a hundred miles at sea; and at a distance of forty miles fine print could be read at midnight…. countless columns of smoke rose up and blended together in a tumbled canopy that hid the heavens and glowed with a ruddy flush reflected from the fires below; here and there jets of lava sprung hundreds of feet into the air and burst into rocket-sprays that returned to earth in a crimson rain…
Mark Twain, Roughing It
For those whose homes or businesses remain, there is a real danger that the roads will not survive, isolating the town from neighboring rural areas that rely on Pohoa businesses for groceries, gasoline, medical services, and other crucial amenities.