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Want to get a closer look at the eruption? You can (and here’s how)

The bright orange glow greeted a glorious sunrise Monday morning at the crater.
The bright orange glow greeted a glorious sunrise Monday morning at the crater.(USGS Volcanoes / Facebook)
Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 1:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you’re on Hawaii Island and want to get a glimpse of the eruption, you’re in luck: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open for visitors.

But if you’re heading down there to check out the plume that is rising from Halemaumau Crater, be sure to have your mask handy and be aware of potential safety issues.

Eager sightseers flocked to the park on Sunday night and many more arrived Monday. Traffic in and out of the park may take a while to get through ― and parking might be hard to find.

“The park’s open 24/7,” said Jessica Ferracane, HVNP spokesperson.

“Most of the park is open now, but the best viewing points for Kilauea are going to be the Kilauea overlook, but there’s limited parking there. ... Pack your patience if you’re coming over to see the glow.”

Obviously, the glow is best viewed during the nighttime hours, Ferracane added.

She also described how much the character of the crater has changed over the years, especially in light of the 2018 summit collapse.

“Even though we had lava in the same caldera for 10 years, it had grown so much,” Ferracane said. “It feels like it’s 40 times bigger.”

If you’re headed to view the eruption, here’s what park officials want you to know:

  • Eruptions can change at any time. Spectators are urged to stay on marked trails and overlooks and avoid cracks and cliff edges.
  • Hazardous volcanic gases are billowing out the crater. People with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women may want to stay home.
  • Slow down and expect long waits for parking spaces at popular vantage points.
  • Maintain social distance of 6 feet from others and wear a mask.
  • At 4,000 feet, the summit can be chilly. Bring a rain jacket and wear long pants.

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