UPDATE: Lava Flow Update For Saturday, Sept. 20
***Note: This story has been updated at 3:46 p.m. to include additional information from Hawai’i County.***
A brush fire has started after the lava flow moved into lighter vegetation.
According to a report from Hawai’i County, the brush fire started in a remote area above Apa’a Road, mauka of Highway 130.
No structures or properties are threatened.
The Hawai’i Fire Department and the State Department of Forestry are working to contain the fire and to prevent any threat to neighboring communities.
The lava flow has not advanced since this morning and does not present an immediate threat to area communities.
No evacuation is needed at this time and area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary.
***Original story posted at 10:46 a.m.***
According to information from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the June 27 lava flow front has slowed considerably over the past day.
An assessment Saturday morning shows the flow front advancing approximately 50 yards from HVO’s overflight Friday around noon and the Hawai’i County Civil Defense flight earlier Saturday.
According to Civil Defense’s latest update, the June 27 surface flow continues towards the northeast. The active edge of the surface flow has exited the northwest corner of the Kaohe Homesteads and has moved from the forested area to open land with lighter vegetation.
Along with this drop in advancement, webcam views show a reduction in smoke at the front over the past day. Civil Defense also noted that the flow front has widened, and it was roughly 164 feet across.
Daily fluctuations in flow advance rate like this are common for pahoehoe lava flows and it is not yet clear if this reduction in advance rate is due to a drop in lava supply or simply the flow front filling a small local depression – in either case the advance rate could rise again in the coming days.
An HVO overflight Friday observed that breakouts remain scattered near the flow front.
The flow front Saturday morning was 10.2 miles from the vent, measured in a straight line. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis was 11.6 miles. The flow front Saturday morning was 1.4 miles upslope from Apa`a Street. Active portions of the flow are still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as lava engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.
Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27 flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently. Some of these breakouts are also producing smoke plumes as they creep into the adjacent forest.
No evacuation has been ordered; however, many community members are preparing in the event that lava hits Pahoa Village Road next week.
Construction activities on the Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road are continuing and Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi said the roadwork will be done by Wednesday.
The next lava flow community update meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
County officials are currently running an Incident Command Center and Informational Resource Center at Pahoa Community Center. Residents are invited to the information center from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday next week for answers to any questions they may have about the flow.
Keep checking www.bigislandnow.com for you latest lava flow updates.