KALAPANA, Hawaii – Hawaii County officials have resurrected the lava viewing area in Kalapana, as lava from Puʻu ʻŌʻō makes its way down the Pūlama pali.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported this morning that the “61g flow” is 4.3 miles long, and has advanced half a mile since Monday, June 27. The flow front was seen progressing down the pali along the western boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision.
Hawaii County has been working hard to prepare what remains of Highway 130 for an influx of lava seekers, and has taken steps to bring back the county-run lava viewing area. Visitors will now be able to hike a few miles out on the road that was hastily improved in 2014 when the June 27 lava flow threatened Pahoa. The road connects to the Chain of Craters road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. UPDATE: Chain Of Craters Road, as a federally funded emergency route, is not for use in public lava viewing. The National Park Service will be considering an alternative.
On Wednesday morning, interim civil defense administrator Ed Teixeira told us about the planning that went into the new public access area in Kalapana.
UPDATE: CIVIL DEFENSE MEDIA RELEASE
The active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō is making its way over the Pulama Pali along the western boundary of the former Royal Gardens Subdivision. The lava flow does not pose a threat to any community.
To maintain public safety and to preserve the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i will open the emergency road to lava viewing on June 30, 2016. Lava viewing along the three mile stretch of the County’s portion of the emergency road is permitted between the hours of 3 pm to 9 pm, daily. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.
Security guards will be posted on the emergency road or Highway 130 before the entrance to Kalapana Gardens to provide lava viewing information and to direct parking. As in previous lava viewing events, visitors will be asked to park in marked areas near the end of the paved portion of Highway 130. Again, it is approximately three (3) miles from this parking area to the end of the County portion of the emergency road, and vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.
Visitors are reminded that the emergency road is a gravel road that traverses over older lava flows and ends at the National Park Service boundary. Visitors are also reminded to prepare for the trek with proper footwear, sun screen, warm clothing, and water.
The County has established lava flow viewing areas along Highway 130 as far back as 2001 and most recently in Pāhoa in 2014.
Our goal is to maintain public safety, protecting the interests of Kalapana residents, and the protection of the emergency road or Highway 130. We ask for your patience and kokua.