A stream of red-hot lava that has been slowly slithering out of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano for months has just consumed a house in only 45 minutes. Although the molten rock reached Big Island’s town of Pahoa last month, destruction had so far been minimal and the only victims were a garden shed, some vegetation and part of a cemetery. This particular house is therefore the first to fall victim to the flow, but some fear that it won’t be the last.
Thankfully, due to plenty of prior warning, the homeowners had already fled the home before the lava had the chance to engulf it. The nearest home to the incinerated house is around half a mile away, but defense officials have warned that some other small structures nearby could soon be destroyed.
Officials have said that they will let any buildings in its path burn as it continues to work its way through the area, but firefighters will tackle any spreading wildfires that threaten other structures. Although the front of the flow stalled at the end of October, lobes can break out upstream, making it difficult to predict where the lava will reach next. The front of the stream is currently around 150 meters from a main road into Pahoa, so authorities are working on providing alternative routes and finding temporary homes for the people that could be displaced should the lava begin to creep forward again.
Here’s a short video of the house and surrounding area:
Wonder Of Science