PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials say a narrow finger of the Puna lava flow has advanced approximately 100 yards since Thursday and is producing a significant amount of smoke as it burns through a tree line. Officials say there is no brush fire threat at this time and the burning is limited to the edges of the flow only.
USGS geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the breakout is moving northeast at a rate of about 245 ft/day since September 29. It pushed past the stalled flow front, which remains sluggish, Tuesday. Scientists say they also observed other breakouts coming from the lava tube about 5 miles behind the flow front near where lava entered a crack system on August 18.
Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials say currently all lava flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities.
Hawai'i County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira says no evacuation is needed at this time and residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary.
USGS says the leading edge is 1.4 miles upslope from Apa'a St. and 2.1 miles from Pahoa Village Road -- measuring approximately 10.2 miles straight-line distance from the vent. USGS scientists say because the flow is moving very slowly and lava discharge from the vent remains low, they're not able to offer a projection of its future movement at this time. The next HVO overflight is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
County officials say the Railroad Avenue emergency route is not open to the public at this time. They say no public vehicles, persons, or activity is allowed on the roadway until the route is opened, which will only be I n the event Highway 130 is unusable due to the lava flow. In the meantime, HELCO crews are continuing their work along the Government Beach Road. Officials say access will be limited to Beach Road residents only to minimize disruption and delays as they work to re-route the power distribution north to south.
Officials also want to remind people that the flow is not visible and cannot be accessed from any public areas. The Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision is still restricted to property-owners and residents only.