Breakout pushes past Puna lava flow front as it continues to widen

Published: Oct. 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 22, 2014 at 3:10 PM HST
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PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say a narrow breakout that has been advancing along the south east edge of the Puna lava flow has pushed past the flow front and is now the leading edge after moving downslope approximately 100 yards since Tuesday. Officials say the original flow front is still active, but only advanced about 25 yards.

Officials say although the flow is still 0.6 miles from Apaa Street near the Pahoa Transfer Station, it has widened.

USGS geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the breakout has been advancing about 90 yd/day since early last week. USGS says the only other breakouts observed on the flow were mid-way along its length in the same area where lava first entered cracks on August 18. They say the flow is about 730 yards – more than seven football fields end to end — and across about 0.8 miles back from the front. HVO scientists plan to conduct an investigation of the leading edges of the flow on foot Wednesday.

County officials say they observed very little burning during their overflight assessment Wednesday morning, however, south winds were carrying smoke and vog to lower Puna and Hilo.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say currently all lava flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities. Hawaii 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.

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.

The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawaii County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

In addition, the County of Hawaii has established an Incident Command Center and Informational Resource Center at the Pahoa Community Center. Residents are invited to the information center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to For more information, contact Hawaii County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

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