(VIDEO ABOVE) Portions of the presentations made by officials at Thursday’s community meeting in Pahoa about the advancing lava flow.
Video by David Corrigan
NEW VIDEO: Lava Flow Public Q and A (12:45 p.m. – Aug. 29, 2014)
PAHOA, Hawaii – A steaming crack in Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve has reignited concerns over an advancing lava flow on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone.
The very latest information posted to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website on Friday morning states:
June 27th Lava Flow Observations: The June 27th lava flow remains active. Overflights yesterday found new steaming above a crack extending eastward from the most distant tip of the flow. While lava was not visible in the crack, we infer from the steaming that it is moving deep within the crack. At mid-day, the farthest steaming spot along the crack was 11.9 km (7.4 mi) from the vent and 2.6 km (1.6 mi) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.
A Civil Defense overflight this morning found that steaming had progressed farther eastward, suggesting continued lava advancement within the crack. In addition, active lava was seen at the surface near where it plunges into this new crack. This puts the most distant surface flows at about 11.5 km (7.1 mi) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. None of these breakouts were very vigorous yesterday, though some are creeping into forest and producing smoke plumes.USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on August 29, 2014
Thursday night in Pahoa, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua updated the Puna community on the situation. Officials were “cautiously optimistic” earlier in the day when no active lava was observed on the front end of June 27th flow which was heading east northeast towards Kaohe Homesteads. Nor was there any indication that lava was advancing within ground cracks. But things changed later that day when observations from overflights revealed steam was rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground.
Officials stated the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.
Most of the discussion at the community meeting had to do with escape routes. Nervous residents clamored for roads to be identified. Oliveira was reluctant to name specific routes because it will not be known which escape route is most effective until the lava gets closer. Oliveira said beach road, Railroad Avenue and even Chain of Craters Road are on the table for discussion.
UPDATE – Here is some edited video of the public question and answer session following the presentations made at Thursday’s meeting in Pahoa.
Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary. “The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas,” said civil defense. “Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.”
In addition, civil defense asked people to “refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.”