Trespassing hikers ignore warnings of fast-flowing lava at Hawaiian National Park

Lava flow
(Image credit: Getty)

Hikers are being warned to stay well clear of the lava flow as Mauna Loa in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park continues to erupt. The park is still open, but visitors are warned to obey road and trail closures for their own safety as the flow moves at a speed of around 20ft per hour towards a main highway.

the National Park Service closed access to Mauna Loa when he current eruption began on November 27, but visitors have flocked to the park to witness it for themselves. As Sky News reports, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says that the eruption is not a threat to communities or property, but is threatening to cut off the Daniel K Inouye Highway, which is the quickest route between the two sides of the island.

Now, as local news site Maui Now reports, around 20 service members from the Hawaii National Guard have been enlisted to help manage the situation – particularly when it comes to traffic control. According to the US Geological Survey, the pace of the lava flow has been unpredictable, making it tough to forecast when it will reach the road.

Ignoring the warnings

Despite warnings, the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve says it continues to see trespassers ignoring road closures for a closer look at the eruption. According to a recent press release, three people were apprehended hiking along the Mauna Loa Access Road, and when questioned, claimed they thought the closure only applied to cars.

Officials recognize that people will are curious and want to see the lava for themselves, but advise visitors to stick to established signposted viewpoints.

The ground around active volcanoes can quickly become unstable, and eruptions release toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide, which can be particularly dangerous for children and animals. The unpredictability of a volcanic eruption means gases can rapidly reach dangerous levels, and they can accumulate in low-lying land at high concentrations.

For more advice on current conditions and restrictions, check out the latest updates from the National Park Service.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.