Lava has destroyed 159 homes in Hawaii so far

Lava flowing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano continues to do significant damage and has now spread over 8 square miles and claimed a total of 159 homes. From CBS News:

As of early Tuesday morning, lava burned down 159 homes, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports. On Friday, the count was at 87 homes. Officials had previously been updating the number of structures burned because it was difficult to tell from aerial surveys which were homes or other buildings.

One of the homes destroyed by the latest lava flow was the second home of the Big Island’s mayor. From the Star-Advertiser:

Lava has consumed more homes in Vacationland including Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim’s second home, which he bought in 1971.

“Harry had a premonition this was going to happen,” said Janet Snyder, spokeswoman of the Hawaii County Civil Defense today. Kim also has a home in Hilo.

“Vacationland is almost totally destroyed,” she said.

In addition to burning homes, the lava has been pouring into the sea at a spot called Kapoho Bay. According to this report from USAToday, lava now extending 3/4 of a mile out from the previous shoreline, meaning a good chunk of the shallow bay has now been filled in. In addition, when lava hits sea water it creates a mix of hydrochloric acid, steam, and glass particles called “laze,” which can be dangerous to the eyes and lungs of anyone nearby. This USGS video from yesterday shows the “laze” cloud forming along the bay.

This next clip is a week old but it shows what happens when people face the real possibility of losing everything. The man firing the gun was John Hubbard. The other man was his neighbor who came to check on his own property. Hubbard was later arrested.

Lava has been flowing from Kilauea for a month now and, as this CBS report points out, there’s no clear indication of when it might end. It could continue for weeks or months with the number of destroyed homes increasing over time. This final clip is the latest from CBS News.