National Guard ready to evacuate people near Mount Kilauea volcano

Hawaii National Guard and Arizona National Guard members continue to support state and local officials responding to a volcanic outbreak in Pahoa, Hawaii. (Photo Courtesy: U.S. National Guard)

Hawaii Army National Guard commander Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara says he's anticipating potentially having to evacuate about 1,000 people from the Puna area where Kilauea volcano is erupting lava.

Hara told reporters in Hilo on Wednesday the evacuation may be needed if lava covers highways. Blocked highways would cut communities off from stores, schools and the rest of the island.

Hara says it's hard to know how many may need to evacuate. He says many people may stay because they are self-sufficient.

He says Hawaii National Guard CH-47 helicopters are currently training in Texas to prepare to deploy to Kuwait. But he's able to request forces from the U.S. Pacific Command.

Hara says there are currently about 1,200 soldiers and nine UH-60 helicopters currently training on the Big Island.

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