East Hawaii News

June 27 Lava Flow Breakout Advances, Creating Brush Fire

January 15, 2015, 1:42 PM HST
* Updated January 15, 1:46 PM
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A lava breakout that began around Jan. 9, upslope of the stalled June 27 lava flow front, has advanced quickly in the past two days, according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira.

In a Thursday afternoon media briefing, Oliveira said that the breakout has advanced about 200 yards a day in the past two days in a north direction, bringing the breakout to the same elevation as the stalled flow front and about 0.6 miles from the Pahoa Police and Fire Station.

Oliveira told reporters that a brush fire started as a result of the breakout and its advancement was first reported to him around 12:15 p.m. Thursday. At that time, the brush fire was about 10 acres in size.

About five to 10 residents or businesses are in the area of the brush fire. Oliveira said that should smoke conditions worsen or residential and business building be in danger, an emergency shelter will be provided to those residents at the Pahoa Community Center.

During the media briefing, Oliveira said that a private bulldozer contractor had been contacted to create a new fire break on the upside of the homes near the brush fire. The breakout had crossed the original fire break in the area, when it was part of the original flow front that was advancing towards the Pahoa Marketplace.

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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Steve Brantley said that the active and quickest advancing flow in this area should not necessarily be viewed as a potential new flow front, but as the most active part at the flow tip.

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At the current time, Oliveira said no homes or businesses were in immediate danger and that the Hawai’i Fire Department was on scene accessing the situation. Additionally, the active flow that has advanced quickly in the past two days showed signs of slowed activity Thursday morning, advancing very sluggishly.

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