The Marine Corps is now on standby to potentially help residents threatened by the Kilauea volcano. At least 1,000 residents are still holding ground despite continued lava flows, a plume of ash that is now 10,000 feet high and the threat of methane gas explosions.
Friday afternoon, a Hawaii based CH-53 Sea Stallion arrived at Hilo International Airport to assist the Hawaii National Guard. The Sea Stallion can hold up to 50-passengers.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, local first responders say residents can learn a lesson from what’s happening in Hawaii: evacuate when told.
There is a persistent concern that residents who refuse to follow evacuation orders are not only putting themselves in danger but also first responders who may be called in to rescue them.
“There’s always a certain level of frustration when the warnings aren’t heeded,” Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said.
Sanchez says as the fire season begins to peak, now is the time to have an evacuation plan. And remember to heed warnings to evacuate.
“It’s affecting us, it’s affecting them and it’s affecting other firefighters and the rest of the community. When you take resources away from a fire, now we’re talking about the fire spreading even further and becoming more out of control affecting the wider community,” Sanchez said.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Hawaii County is posting emergency updates on social media. Locals who have refused to evacuate are being warned of possible methane explosions. They’re also being offered masks because of dangerous air quality.