PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - According to USGS geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory who flew over the June 27 Pu'u O'o crater flow Monday afternoon, it appears the lava flow has advanced about half a mile in the last two days, tracking forward about 830 meters since their last flyover.
On average over the last two weeks, it has only moved about 250 meters every two days, so they say this is a marked increase in speed and they think it may be because a breakout of the flow has consistently stayed on the surface for a few days now, allowing them to gather reliable visual data versus the uncertainty of knowing what's happening when it's in an underground crack.
The lava flow is continuing along the N/NE shift in direction that first started around Friday. Therefore, it is no longer heading directly toward Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision, but rather parallel to the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.
Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials have been very carefully monitoring the lava flow for the potential of wildfire breakouts, but according to the USGS geologists onboard -- they did not spot any burns outside the immediate edge of the lava flow.
Hawai'i County Civil Defense released the following update Monday:
"This morning's assessment shows the surface lava flow continues very slowly in a north direction. Very little vegetation is burning and there is no wildfire threat at this time. Weather and fire conditions are being monitored closely. The surface flow has advanced approximately 150 yards since yesterday. Subsurface flow activity also continues. The surface flow is moving very slowly and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents. The surface flow is located approximately 0.8 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary and moving in a north direction and parallel to the forest reserve boundary. Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities. No evacuation is required at this time. Eruption activity will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be provided. Although the current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities, residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.The public is reminded that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas. Access to the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision will be restricted and limited to subdivision residents only."
The next community meeting with updates from Hawai'i County & USGS officials is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 9th at the Pahoa High School cafeteria.