June 27 Lava Flow Afternoon Update – 11/12/14
A briefing with Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira gave insight late Wednesday morning on the three active flows extending from the June 27 lava flow.
Currently, the breakout lobe below Apa’a Street near the cemetery by where a residential structure was destroyed on Nov. 10 has advanced about 70 yards since Monday but it has not advanced any further towards structures.
According to Oliveira, the nearest structure is at least 400 to 500 yards away from that breakout as the flow continues to flow in a north-northeast direction, somewhat parallel to Apa’a Street.
The activity was minimal near the structure and up to Apa’a Street compared to Tuesday, when there was a lot of active burning along the property line. Below the structure, activity continues but it is not as active or aggressive as others currently are. It has advanced about 70 yards since Monday.
A second breakout is being monitored in the transfer station area. The flow has penetrated the perimeter fence and is traveling down an embankment but has not hit any structures.
Oliveria attributed the lack of structural damage by the lava to the design of the transfer station. “As far as a wood structure that might be threatened or burned, the nearest breakout or finger that was in the property is probably at least 30- 50 yards away and not able to advance because it would have to fill up or come around from a different direction because the driveway is somewhat like a moat, that circles the perimeter of the property to allow for the reversing of the dumpsters into the stalls. So it’s at least 10 feet or more below the grade in which the structures are built on.”
Asphalt is burning in the area and is moderate to heavy, however, wind conditions are helping to decrease an immediate health hazard by blowing the smoke up and not carrying it over residential areas.
The Department of Health continues to monitor the air quality along with Civil Defense and will update the public should any necessary health hazards arise.
A third breakout being watched closely is about .3 miles upslope from the Apa’a Street area and has traveled about 225 yards in the past 24 hours. Oliveira said that the breakout has the potential to reach Apa’a Street in 3-5 days if it continues with its current rate and course.
This particular breakout is relatively narrow but is widening as it consists of two fingers. The second finger of the breakout has not advanced much as the leading edge. Both are moving in a north-northeast direction.
Burning in the areas of the breakout below Apa’a Street and the breakout .3 miles above Apa’a Street are limited to vegetation.
Hawai’i Electric Lights poles have remained intact thus far and have not seen any impact or changes, according to Oliveira. However, the breakout near the transfer station along the south side is slowly approaching the Apa’a Street area, which would put it in close proximity to a pole that Hawai’i Electric light has applied protective materials to.
On Wednesday morning, Hawai’i Electric Light was coordinating with the Hawai’i Fire Department about applying firefighting Class A foam.
“The foam is used to break up the surface tension of the water and allow it to penetrate deep into the ground to soak in the area,” Oliveira noted.
There are plans set to apply the foam Wednesday afternoon.
An evacuation notice for residents in the area remains as Civil Defense continues to map the anticipated flow path. However, there is possibility that the boundaries can increase or shift. Oliveira stated that Civil Denfense and public safety personnel are awaiting a more definitive idea of where the flow may be advancing towards.
For now, the boundaries remain and Pahoa Village Road continues to be closed between Apa’a Street and Post Office Road.
“We are very empathetic and sensitive to what the limited access impact is having on both residents and the business community, but as we are talking about an advancing flow, there is going to be the need to provide safety and security. It’s just a matter of determining where the flow is advancing towards and where we need to expand the evacuation area to,” Oliveira explained.
The next community lava meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Pahoa High School cafeteria.