Fears of Lava Flow Closed Park's Lava Viewing Area

John Skillman
John Skillman
Chris Gates
Chris Gates

KILAUEA, BIG ISLAND (KHNL) - Eleven campers were evacuated from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Sunday now they have been allowed to return. But the big draw for most everyone is still off limits.

John Skillman visiting from Helena, Montana shouts, "Bummer! I don't want to die in earthquake or fiery explosion. It's a National Park and we wanted to see everything."

For a second day hundreds of park visitors are disappointed because for safety reasons they are being kept miles away from the main attraction.

The signs say road closed. Ever since Sunday morning the National Park Service has blocked off the 18-mile Chain of Craters road visitors use to reach the lowlands where lava flows into the sea.

Also off-limits, Kilauea's east rift zone. People come from all over the world to view the lava flow. Now the only road leading to the lava viewing area is shut down. Skillman adds, "We were disappointed, not afraid of the volcano erupting, it's just unfortunate we can't drive down and see petroglyphs."

The danger is just too great according to park officials who feared that if lava begins to erupt from a new spot on Kilauea, that would release poisonous fumes and could cut off. roads and trails. So they are not taking any chances.

Tourists were allowed to take in the magnificent views once the park re-opened Crater Rim Drive and the trails in the summit area. Still a disappointment for many like Chris Gates who is visiting from Pleasant California

"When we walked in and asked what hikes to go on, they first said chain of craters was closed due to earthquakes. But then the ranger joked, you are used to that because you are from California."

Because Chain of Craters road was closed for safety reasons park entrance fees were waived.