Open to the eruption site today
Many people go to the eruption site, but scientists think that the eruption is slowly decreasing. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon
“The closing of hiking trails went well yesterday, but every day, some tourists need the help of a first responder,” says the report of the Suðurnes police on the situation in the eruption area at Litli-Hrútur, where police review the rules governing the movement of the public through the area.
The police included a walking map in their announcement, identifying danger zones where, as decided by the commissioner, no-go zones are restricted. “The public is obliged to obey the orders given by the police,” the announcement says, although the police point out that the ban does not include first responders and scientists who are needed for scientific purposes to access the area.
Most show understanding
Today, the area is open from Suðurstrandavegur, but the hiking routes will be closed at 18 PM as before. Police say that most people show understanding that access to the area is limited, but in the opinion of the commissioner, it is not possible to keep the hiking routes open around the clock. Therefore, hiking routes from South Coast Highway will be closed at 18 PM each day, albeit sooner or later, as appropriate.
The police acknowledge that people are responsible inside a restricted area and at the same time point out that the so called Meradalir route leads close to the eruption site. The road between the two sides is 18 km (90 km) back and forth in total and therefore not suitable for all hikers. Meradalir route runs northeast from the Stóri-Leirdalur parking lot.
However, some people decided on that route, but police say yesterday’s crowd estimate for Meradalir route was 1,326 people, while 1,188 people were on older routes. Today, police, rangers and ambulance crews will be in the area, but not on a regular basis, police and tourists in the area say that they are urging people to be responsible.
“It is important to bear in mind that the eruption site is a dangerous area where conditions may change suddenly. Police warn people to stay near the eruption site because of gas pollution. The risk increases when the wind gets lower. Then life-threatening gases can build up in depressions and prove fatal. New fissures can open up quickly, and incandescent lava can fall from the edge of the lava field, causing rapid and sudden outbursts of water and violent outbursts of the atmosphere, causing new lava tubes to break out in what can be difficult to avoid in the run,” the report stated.
The local volcanic enthusiast is advised to use dust masks to avoid pollution from greenhouse fires. The police emphasize that the eruption does not involve children and that it is not advisable for people with heart and lung diseases and pregnant women to make the journey there.
Then people should be well equipped with food and water with their cell phones fully charged. People also need to take heed of wind direction and follow the news.