Astonished spectators in their thousands have gathered to witness Hawaii’s biggest volcano spewing incandescent lava rivers.

After a 38-year nap, Mauna Loa awakened on Sunday, sending volcanic ash and other debris tumbling from the sky.

Thousands more vehicles clogged a major road near Volcanoes National Park, which connects the east and west coastlines of the Big Island, creating an impromptu viewing area.

Fearing that the road will soon be blocked by lava overflow, nurse Anne Andersen abandoned her nighttime duty to view the show on Wednesday.

As the volcano on the horizon belched gas, she remarked, “It’s Mother Nature showing us her face.” It’s rather thrilling.

A guest from Loomis, California named Gordon Brown could see the vivid orange lava from the bedroom of his rented home. He then took his wife outside to have a better view.

“All we wanted to do was come as near as we could to observe this. And it is so brilliant that it just astounded me,” Brown remarked.

Watching Mauna Loa is it safe?

As people stood on Saddle Road and observed the broad stream of lava advancing, strong sulfur, and volcanic gas odor filled the air.

It was unclear when or if it would cover the road, which travels through old lava flows, as it had reached about 6 miles (10 km) from the highway.

The street cuts the island in half and links Hilo and Kailua-Kona. If Saddle Road is rendered impassable, people traveling between them would have to take a longer coastal route, which would increase travel time by several hours.

The lava could reach the road in two days, according to Ken Hon, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s lead scientist, but it will probably take longer. Hon predicted that the lava flow would obstruct its advancement as it expanded.