“Media” is so much more than it used to be with the ability to find numerous newspaper/ magazine articles online (all stating something different causing confusion) posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We even see videos of these self-proclaimed “lava hunters” going into the closed-off danger zones to show a glimpse of the devastation from the current active flow. I have seen articles as far away as the UK indicating the entire island is going to implode on itself. The news In Chicago said they were trying to evacuate the entire island and none of us would have homes to return to. Of course, explosive headlines sell papers, magazines and get click-throughs, but it’s also inaccurate.
Sensationalizing what is happening on the Big Island affects tourism which is one of the main sources of income for many residents. (Including many of those that have just lost their homes or have been evacuated.) Big resorts and the airlines with mass cancelations will adjust their staff and crews providing fewer hours and potentially fewer days for work. Employees, in turn, have less to spend on food and necessities. For a small business, the impact is even more detrimental, and they may have to shut their doors altogether.
The Kīlauea Volcano has been continuously erupting since 1983 when the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption began. This active lava has always been dispersing what we affectionately call VOG but, is most recently being described by article after article as “hazardous amounts of sulfur dioxide.” For people with asthma and allergies, it could be a potential challenge but no more than it has been in the past 35 years.
We don’t want to downplay the fact that people are losing their homes in Leilani Estates and potentially the surrounding areas. People have had to evacuate themselves, their pets and what little belongings they could grab. No human lives have been lost thankfully, and the local community has been rallying around helping evacuees with necessities, providing shelter and food for their pets as well helping evacuate livestock and even chickens & ducks. Not only is this active lava flow unpredictable (as are all lava flows) but for the residents that have been evacuated and the residents that may be soon, traffic needs to be restricted so they can get out more quickly. This lava flow and mandated closure is downslope from us and has no impact on Volcano Village whatsoever.
The potential for an explosion at Kilauea’s summit crater Halema’uma’u is also not as detrimental as what is being depicted. Yes, boulders the size of cows/refrigerators do have the potential to be shot up from the crater rim at Halema’uma’u and if that happens their impact radius is a half mile, meaning it won’t leave the crater rim area. If you are not standing around or near Halema’uma’u crater when this happens, it means you are in no danger of having a giant lava rock fall on you! That’s why the park is currently closed. When the park is safe, they will reopen, but they may not reopen certain areas.
There may be the potential for ash fall to spread over 10 miles or further depending on the trade winds. It could go as far as Hilo like in the 1924 explosion. Levels of ash fall and that pesky sulfur dioxide have been emitting from Halema’uma’u since early 2007. What we are expecting shouldn’t have any more influence on us or at the least very little. Usually, the least amount of VOG found anywhere on the island is in Volcano Village. Today our air quality was excellent.
We have been flexible up to this point with cancelations due to the park closure and other concerns, however, we want to advise all our future guests that we will enforce our standard cancellation policy from this point forward. While the park is closed, there is still a wealth of things to do in Volcano Village and the surrounding areas. We know you may not know what those things are, but that is what we are here for. Just ask! We can help you plan alternative itineraries and help you get the most out of your stay with us.