It’s been nearly 40 years since Mauna Loa Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i erupted, but things suddenly changed late in the night of Nov. 27, when the sleeping giant came to life. This eruption, occurring inside Volcanoes National Park in the center of the island, has sent lava flowing in what is known as the “northeast rift zone.”
While the volcano is actively erupting, the direction of the lava flow is good news so far, as it is only affecting an unpopulated area of the island and does not pose any immediate threat to travelers or local communities. Access to the area is closed to both vehicles and pedestrians, with Mauna Loa Road closed to vehicles from Kipukapuaulu to the first cattle-guard point for pedestrians and bicycles.
The Hawai’ian government has not issued any warnings advising travelers to adjust or cancel travel plans. Currently, all accommodations and activities on the island, as well as all air travel, remain open. This includes the main section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with the exception of Mauna Loa Summit Backcountry.
Officials and experts are not expecting a long period of eruption if history is any indicator —historically, eruptions from this volcano last no more than a couple weeks; however, travelers should keep the current situation in mind when visiting the island and check with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service for any additional closures or advisories should the situation change.
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