It seems like a pretty straightforward and reasonable request for authorities to make: do not go near the really hot lava coming out of the volcano.
However, the Hawaiian government has had to start arresting people who are trying to get way too close to Hawaii’s active lava flows from the continuously erupting Kīlauea volcano.
We don’t know if we’re surprised or just disappointed.
And of course, in truly 21st century fashion, the reason why some of the tourists are sneaking around checkpoints and roadblocks is to take some extra toasty selfies.
Not all images you’d see on social media are acquired by shirking official warnings, but it’s definitely a growing problem, according to officials.
“These people need to think,” Deputy Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla said earlier this month.
It’s been reported that government officials in Hawaii have arrested at least 40 tourists and locals inside the lava zones. Their charges: loitering.
The current lower Puna eruption at Kīlauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has been happening since May 3. It’s been destroying homes, erupting ash plumes into the sky, and even producing its own weather.
And in case you need any reminding, lava is really, really hot.
Fresh lava can be as hot as 1,200 °C (2,192 °F), and although it will cool and solidify over time, this doesn’t happen straight away.
Even walking on solidified lava can still melt shoes and cause items to burst into flame due to the radiant heat.
So yeah, it’s not a good idea to get close to lava. Not only can you seriously hurt yourself or your precious camera equipment, but it’s also an issue for law enforcement.
“When officers have to spend so much time getting people out of areas that are clearly closed, it means they’re being taken away from more critical duties,” Redulla said.
“The rescues and subsequent citations this morning show that some people are not heeding warnings to stay away.”
“They’re putting their own lives at risk, the lives of law enforcement and first responders, and the lives of local residents who may need to evacuate quickly,” he added.
It’s not even the first time we’ve talked about people taking exceptionally dangerous selfies.
So yeah, just, seriously guys, stop.