Forest burns as molten surface lava moves through it. On the right is more advancing lava.(Click on the picture for a large size and to see the stars)
Yep, the security firm managing the area for Hawaii County, at about 5:00 PM yesterday, closed off the newly established lava viewing area. Visitors were allowed to gather on a rise of land close to the terminus of highway 130.
From that new vantage point spectators could still see the forest burning nearby as the molten lava beneath it moved through. And after dark a broad area of lava outbreaks could be seen far up on the mountain and down the Pulama Pali. Frequent rain squalls dampened the view but did not seem to dissuade the hundreds of people who attended.
Lava had not reached the viewing areas as of 10:00 PM last night.
(Click on it for a larger size) Above, the viewing area from the night before, April 20th, which may have been the last time this location will be accessible, lava may surround it in the next day or two.
Lava Viewing Summary:
Weather permitting; the most visual displays of active lava continue to be safely witnessed from the two designated public viewing areas:
1) The balcony outside the Jaggar Museum during the day and after dark. The Jaggar is located a few miles past the entrance gates inside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is open to the public 24 hour a day, seven days a week.
2) The newly advancing surface flow can be watched from the Hawaii County Civil Defense public viewing area parking, trailhead and the newly established gathering spot next to there. This area may become pretty exciting in the following days IF the lava close by continues its march through the kipuka forest and comes closer. The viewing area is open to the public between the hours of 2:00 PM and 10:00 PM; last car allowed in is 8:00 PM – seven days per week.
Video of the molten lava flowing down the Pulama Pali: