PUNA, Hawaii, May 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As news of volcanic activity taking place in a remote area on the island of Hawai'iʻs east side continues to make headlines around the world, it is important that travelers headed to the island understand that "there isabsolutely no reason at this time to change or alter their leisure or business plans," according to Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawai'i Visitors Bureau.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
There is absolutely no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their leisure or business plans.
All of the Hawaiian Islands are unaffected by Kīlauea volcano except a remote area on the island of Hawai'i's east side. Out of the island's 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected.
Air Access: All flights into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole - KOA (west) and Hilo International Airport - ITO (east) are operating normally.
Accommodations and Activities: All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity.
Air Quality: Air quality on the island of Hawai'i remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the lava is flowing can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide), and officials are continuing to monitor air quality.
HAWAI'I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE ERUPTION MAP To view the interactive map (please wait for the page to load), visit: https://bit.ly/2JV840r
AIRPORTS, ACCOMMODATIONS & ACTIVITIES
All airports on the island of Hawai'i continue to operate normally.
All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity.
Visitors who have already booked a trip to the island of Hawai'i with accommodations or activities in/near the Puna district, should call their provider with any questions or concerns.
The volcanic activity and where lava has flowed is limited to an isolated area in lower Puna on the island's east side.
This is more than 100 miles away from the western Kohala and Kona Coasts, where the island's major visitor accommodations and resorts are located. This is the area furthest from the current activity.
In addition, Hilo town is approximately 20 miles away and unaffected by Kīlauea volcano.
Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, and has been erupting for the past 35 years.
The topography of the island between east and west is unconducive for a natural flow.
Out of the island's 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in the district of Puna is affected.
AIR QUALITY Air quality on the island of Hawai'i remains unchanged with the exception of the eruption location, which can have hazardous levels of SO2 (sulfur dioxide). Officials constantly monitor SO2 levels across the island. VOG or volcanic haze is relatively common on an island with active volcanoes, and the level of haze is dependent on volcanic activity and wind direction/strength. To view SO2 conditions in real-time across the state, visit http://www.hiso2index.info/. For statewide Air Quality, visit Air Now at https://bit.ly/2I33ixd (data and forecasts courtesy of the Hawai'i Department of Health – Environmental Health).
HAWAI'IVOLCANOESNATIONALPARK Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is currently open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. This includes Jaggar Museum (open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with the outdoor overlook open until 10:00 p.m.), Kīlauea Visitor Center (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and other areas listed here https://www.nps.gov/havo. Residents and visitors can still view the lava activity and glow from Halema'uma'u Crater.
As active volcanic vents are erupting in the area, all residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions are required to evacuate.
Pohoiki Road is closed from the intersection at Highway 132 down to Highway 137 to allow evacuation efforts of residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions to proceed whenever possible.
Residents and visitors who do not have official business in the active evacuation area (Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions) are asked to stay away to keep the roads as clear as possible and allow homeowners to evacuate.
Temporary flight restrictions are in place for most of lower Puna. Drones will be confiscated in this area.
Those who have rented accommodations or made tour reservations in the general area should check with those respective companies for the latest updates.
Unless otherwise noted, area businesses are open and accessible. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and be prepared for increased traffic.
Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has closed Lava Tree State Monument and Mackenzie State Recreation Area until further notice.
As a safety precaution, the County of Hawai'i has closed the Kalapana Viewing Area until further notice.
VOLCANOES IN HAWAI'I Eruptions of Hawaiian volcanoes are typically nonexplosive or weakly explosive. Hawaiian eruptions, which is a term used by volcanologists worldwide to characterize similar eruptive style at other volcanoes, are usually gentle due to its highly fluid lava composition which tends to flow freely both beneath the surface and upon eruption. For more information about Hawaiian eruptions, visit https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/hawaii/page26.html.