Hawaii Couple Brace for 'Slowly Seeping Kind of Menace' of Lava

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PAHOA, HAWAII — In pursuit of the perfect place to retire, Charles and Corinne Taylor moved 19 times until they found it on the far eastern side of Hawaii's Big Island. But the same ingredient that formed the islands is now threatening their little slice of paradise.

A river of lava is making its way from Kilauea volcano toward the only highway that connects the Taylors and their community to the rest of the island. If it crosses the highway, it could cut off 8,000 people from groceries, gasoline, water, electricity and a way for kids to get to school. “It’s a slowly seeping kind of menace,” Charles says. The Taylors, both 72, lived in Dallas for 30 years. When Corinne’s health began to fail, they went in pursuit of a very mild, but also moist, climate. “This is the perfect climate,” Corinne says.

Pahoa is also one of the least expensive areas to live in Hawaii, but it's located in Lava Zone 2 of the island's nine zones, with one being the most active. "'There hasn't been any lava in this area for 150 years and the recent activity is almost unprecedented," Charles says. However, the lava started flowing from a vent in Kilauea's Puu Oo crater in June and it could reach their local highway in two weeks.


— Jim Seida