(ABOVE) An image taken on September 16 from video supplied by Baron Sekiya (Hawaii24/7) showing a bird’s-eye view of the lava advancing towards the town of Pahoa.
PUNA, Hawaii – The lava flow continues to move northeast and has picked up speed, according to scientists.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory had this update Wednesday morning:
A Civil Defense overflight this morning observed that the flow continues heading in a northeast direction through thick forest in the northwest portion of Kaohe Homesteads. The flow front had advanced at an average rate of 270 m/day (890 ft/day) between Sep 15 and 17, which is slightly higher than the advance rate of 215 m/day (705 ft/day) between Sep 12 and 15. The flow front was 15.9 km (9.9 miles) from the vent, measured in a straight line. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) was 18.2 km (11.3 miles). The flow front this morning was 2.8 km (1.7 miles) upslope from Apa`a Road. The flow front is still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Sept. 17
A Civil Defense message was also issued:
Daily over flights and assessments are continuing. This morning’s assessment shows the surface lava flow continues towards the northeast and has advanced approximately 350 yards since yesterday. The active edge of the surface flow is moving through the upper northwest corner of the Kaohe Homesteads and across vacant forested parcels. The leading edge or front of the flow is approximately 100 yards wide. Currently the flow does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary. There is no brushfire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the vegetation that is in direct contact with the flow. Smoke conditions were moderate to heavy this morning over the Kaohe area and may vary depending on wind conditions.
Construction activities on the Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road are continuing. These activities are to establish alternate road access in the event Highway 130 is affected by the lava flow.
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.
Everyone’s cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.Hawaii County Civil Defense message on Sept. 17
Hawaii County crews organized an overflight aboard Paradise Helicopters yesterday, which was filmed by Baron Sekiya of Hawaii247.com and distributed to local media. Those videos are below: