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State, county consider opening up new lava viewing area on Hawaii island

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Gov. David Ige announced Monday that he is considering opening up a new area for people to view the lava on Hawaii island.

He says a new viewing area would have the potential to pump money back into the island's economy.

"What we would like to and hope to do is find a place that we could create a safe viewing area so that we can make it available to visitors," Ige said. "We are working with the National Parks, because we recognize that they've been shut down and they've obviously lost significant revenue."

The governor also says the viewing area would have to be somewhere where it won't interfere with residents whose homes are near the eruptions. 

Nothing is set in stone yet, but the governor plans to head to Hawaii island Tuesday to discuss the idea.

Last week, county officials told KHON2 they too were pursuing the possibility of a new viewing area.

"We're considering that very seriously. We have to make sure that it is safe for anyone viewing the lava, so we're identifying spots around that particular area so that we can give access, but we need to make sure that in case there's an emergency, the wind should shift, there's an earthquake, or a fissure should start coming in that direction, we have to make sure we have emergency procedures," said Wil Okabe, Hawaii County managing director.

County officials want to remind visitors that it's still safe to come to Hawaii, and they hope that by creating a new viewing area, they can get that message across.


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