Lava warning issued in Hawaii as flow could reach residential subdivision

Lava flowing through forested area in Hawaii (Photo: USGS/Hawaii News Now)

HAWAII -- A lava warning was issued on the Big Island as a flow could potentially reach a residential subdivision within a week, Hawaii News Now reported Thursday.

USGS geologist Jim Kauahikaua, the scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, raised the lava threat from a watch to a warning as it could reach the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, the news site first reported.

It said the difference is significant in that it means a hazardous lava flow is imminent, under way or suspected.

Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi declared a state of emergency for the County of Hawaii as a result, it said.

The emergency declaration allows the county to restrict access to certain areas.

Hawaii County Civil Defense will restrict the Kaohe Homesteads to residents and property owners only.