Hawaii Volcano Lava Nears Major Highway

KONA COAST, HI - DECEMBER 16:  A nearly deserted beach at the edge on an old Mauna Loa lava flow is viewed on December 16, 2016, in this aerial photo taken along the Kona Kohala Coast, Hawaii. Hawaii, the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands at 4,000 square miles, features active volcanoes, large cattle ranches, unusual flora and fauna, waterfalls, rainforests, and occasionally, snowcapped mountains. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

At a glance

  • Mauna Loa’s eruption this week – the first since 1984 – has led to concerns that lava could threaten Big Island’s main highway.
  • Mauna Loa has been creeping toward the highway, coming within 3.6 miles on Wednesday.
  • Local officials and the state’s transportation department have been working on a plan to shut down the highway if the lava gets close enough to become dangerous, said Adam Weintraub, communication director for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

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