Mauna Loa Eruption: What you need to know : Big Island Now



Big Island Now will provide information about the Mauna Loa eruption as it is made available. This information will be updated regularly.

Evacuations: None at this time. Officials say the lava is flowing at this time in remote areas of the Big Island where there is no population and limited property.

Lava viewing locations: The County has opened Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area, located at 44-500 Daniel K. Inouye Highway, to 24 hours, including the upper and lower bathrooms. A security guard will be at the park from 6:15 p.m. to 6:15 a.m. The park will reopen open for 24 hours till further notice. Volcanoes National Park is also open 24 hours.

State closures: The Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources on Nov 28 and 29 has closed several state-managed areas on the Big Island, including the 50,000-acre Mauna Loa Forest Reserve, Unit J of the Kapāpala Game Management Area, the Kipuka ‘Ainahou Nēnē Sanctuary, the ʻĀinapō Trail and cabin, and the Kapāpala Forest Reserve for at least 90 days.

Shelters closed: Due to no threat to communities at this time, shelters that were opened yesterday at Old Kona Airport in Kailua-Kona and Kaʻu Gymnasium in Pāhala as a precaution, closed at noon Nov. 29. No people were using the shelters.

The Red Cross encourages all families to make a disaster plan to include an evacuation plan with two different routes of escape, a communications plan to help families reconnect after disaster and a disaster supplies kit that is readily available to aid in a quick evacuation. Information on developing a family plan is available to the public at redcross.org/hawaii, or a brochure can be requested by calling 808-734-2101. 

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Food at evacuation shelters: The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division is on standby to provide food for evacuation shelters should Hawaiʻi County require evacuations.  

Monetary donations may be made online at Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org. Listings of current volunteer opportunities also may be found at Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org

Flights: Airline flights to and from Hilo International Airport (ITO) or the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) are now operating normally. But passengers should check with their airline prior to heading to the airport due to the volcanic activity at Mauna Loa. 

No parking on Daniel K. Inouye Highway: Mayor Mitch Roth issued an emergency rule prohibiting on-lookers from parking or walking on Saddle Road from mile markers 16 to 31. Those who violate the rule could face a $1,000 fine.

Road closures: The Hawai’i Police Department has closed the Mauna Loa Access Road at the intersection with Daniel K. Inouye Highway due to the eruption.

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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has closed the Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu and the closure extends to the summit caldera; for more information go to https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm.  

Preparedness: Residents living on Mauna Loa slopes should review their preparedness. For preparedness information from Hawai‘i County, see these resources: https://hawaii-county-volcano-hazards-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/.

Ashfall Advisory is canceled: The threat for ashfall has ended. However, people with
respiratory illness or sensitivities should continue be mindful of the potential for areas of low air quality due to vog (volcanic smog).

Vog information: https://vog.ivhhn.org/.

Air quality: The state Hawaiʻi Department of Health advises the public to be prepared for air quality impacts due to the Mauna Loa eruption. As of Nov. 28 at 2 p.m., permanent air quality monitoring stations across the state report that air quality remains normal. However, the eruption could cause vog conditions, ash in the air, and levels of sulfur dioxide to increase and fluctuate in various areas of the state. Conditions are changing rapidly, and poor air quality may be very localized.

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Hawai‘i residents and visitors are advised to be prepared for and aware of the surrounding conditions, and how they may react to poor air quality or vog. In the event of voggy conditions, the following precautionary measures are advised:

  • Reduce outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing. Avoiding outdoor activity and exercise during vog conditions can reduce exposure and minimize health risks. This is especially important for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic lung and heart disease.
  • People with asthma or a chronic respiratory disease should always have medications available. Daily prescribed medications should be taken on schedule.
  • People experiencing health effects should contact their medical provider as soon as possible if any symptoms develop, as respiratory conditions might worsen rapidly in heavy sulfur dioxide or vog conditions.
  • Stay indoors and close windows and doors. If an air conditioner is used, set it to recirculate. If you need to move out of an impacted area, turn on the car’s air conditioner and set it to recirculate.
  • Face masks (surgical, cloth, KF94, KN95, N95) do not provide protection from sulfur dioxide or vog. However, they can be effective in outdoor environments in reducing inhaled hazardous particulates associated with falling ash and Pele’s hair.
  • Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Visitor Information: The Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau said in a news release there is no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their leisure or business plans to Hawaiʻi. All accommodations, activities, and attractions on the island are also operating normally.

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority will continue to provide updates on the situation on its website about the latest official tourism-related information regarding the eruption occurring on the island of Hawai‘i. Additional tourism updates are also available on the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau’s website at https://www.gohawaii.com/special-alerts-updates.

Mauna Loa Webcams: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/webcams.



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