The U.S. Geological Survey issued a warning on Monday after reporting Mauna Loa’s first eruption since 1984.
It is the volcano’s 34th recorded eruption since a historical eruption occurred in 1843. The last eruption in 1984 caused lava to come within 5 miles of Hilo, the largest city in the region.
According to Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele, the eruption is currently confined to Mauna Loa’s summit, and no communities are being asked to evacuate. Shelters are opening in the region as a precaution, officials said.
Although the lava is not expected to reach Hilo, the region is under an ashfall advisory. The National Weather Service said, “Falling volcanic ash and debris can cause respiratory distress in people, and render engines or electronics inoperative.”