With scientists warning that a steam-driven volcanic eruption could occur virtually without warning, the Hawaii National Guard is prepared to use ground convoys and even helicopters if necessary to pluck hundreds of residents from an isolated southeast corner of Hawaii's Big Island.
Over the past week, the Big Island has experienced more than 600 earthquakes - a sign that something is occurring deep beneath the volcano.
Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have shifted gears.
Geologists are warning of a possible explosion which would be the largest explosion in almost 120 years, CBS News reports. They view their trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Smigelski-Theiss says she's anxious potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.
"My equivalent of this - and I'm from South Florida where we have hurricanes - is driving quite literally into a hurricane", she said.
In Pahoa, the nearest village to Kilauea, some schools remained closed after the area was hit by a 6.9 magnitude natural disaster on Friday, the biggest since 1975.
Since the quake, there have been frequent aftershocks.
Two subdivisions were ordered to evacuate last week after lava oozed from cracks in the ground, burning down some two dozen homes. In their latest update this morning, the agency noted that there has been no change in damage to property, however, with the number of destroyed structures remaining at 36 overnight.
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At a meeting on Thursday night, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Steve Brantley told residents that magma created by a 1955 eruption was being forced to the surface by Kilauea.
Robert Hughes, the owner of Aloha Junction Bed and Breakfast in Volcano, said he's had "tons" of cancellations since Wednesday when geologists first warned of the explosive eruption.
The threat of unsafe volcanic activity in Hawaii could continue for weeks and violent explosions could occur with "very little warning", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory cautioned Wednesday. The lodge, which has 12 rooms and 4 cottages, has had a handful of cancellations.
People should also be cautious around the water: once lava interacts with saltwater, it produces hydrochloric acid, which is toxic. Scientists said the molten rock there could start moving faster if fresher, hotter magma emerges from the ground.
Hawaii Volcano Observatory scientist Tina Neal says communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash.
Officials said earlier this week they had planned to move the pentane over the next few weeks but accelerated the effort because of the ongoing lava threat. Szigeti noted that the Big Island is "immense" and there are large parts of the island unaffected by the volcano. Distant communities such as Hilo, about 30 miles away, could get a dusting of ash.
Ross Birch, the executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said he knows that officials "walk the fine line". "But we also don't want to be stupid", said Cindy Hartman, 68, who lives in the Kalapana-Seaview neighborhood. "We don't know what's going on underground".
President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii following a request by the state's governor due to the volcanic activity continuing to wreak havoc on the island.