HAWAII: Lava has been slowly snaking its way towards rural Hawaii communities for months, but it took an oozing stream of molten rock just 45 minutes to burn down an empty house.
Firefighters standing by to tackle any spreading wildfires let the flames consume the 1,100-square-foot (100-square metre) structure yesterday afternoon.
It was the first house incinerated by a lava flow from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island that scientists have been warning the public about since August. It is unlikely to be the last.
The home’s nearest neighbour is about half a mile away, Hawaii County civil defence director Darryl Oliveira said.
A garage and barn near the destroyed home could also burn down soon, he said.
The slow-moving flow arose from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on June 27, and has trekked across the island unmitigated for the past few months at a rate of 15-20 yards per hour. Although this was the first house set on fire, it may not be the last to be consumed by the flames.