Big Island lava within one mile of closest subdivision

Photo: Hawaii County Civil Defense

Officials with Hawaii County Civil Defense say smoke conditions could pick up as lava from Kilauea burns through vegetation.

Crews flew over the area Wednesday morning and noticed that the flow, which entered a crack earlier in the week, is now back on the surface.

It’s a “very slow-moving, creeping type of a surface flow, not posing any imminent or immediate threat to area communities,” said director Darryl Oliveira. “There’s no wildfire threat because the vegetation is very wet, very green up there and what’s burning is what’s touching the lava itself.”

Oliveira says lava is approximately 0.9 miles from the boundary that separates the Wao Kele O Puna forest reserve and the nearest subdivision, Kaohe Homesteads.

So when is the lava expected to reach homes, if at all? Civil Defense tells KHON2 that’s hard to say.

“This lava flow could change direction. It could stall. It could stop. So we’re taking appropriate action based on that’s the closest or in close proximity, but it doesn’t in any way imply that they are destined to be affected by the lava flow,” Oliveira said.

In the meantime, official are keeping residents informed over the radio waves and even contacting them in person.

“Today I actually have some of our civil defense staff and police department going door-to-door in the nearby subdivision just to make sure that everybody’s aware of what’s happening,” Oliveira said.

He says some residents live off the grid, and may not be aware of what’s going on.

Because it’s an agricultural community, officials are working with farmers and ranchers to relocate livestock, if needed.

Civil Defense is also asking the public to stay away from the lava.

“Right now we’re discouraging anyone from trying to access the lava flow. It’s in a very remote area. It’s in the forest reserve. The terrain is very treacherous out there,” Oliveira said. “The residents have shared their frustrations that there are people trying to get there to see the flow and it’s adding to their difficulties with managing their own personal lives.”

A community meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 4, to update residents on the lava flow. It starts at 6:30 p.m. in Pahoa High School’s cafeteria.

Get daily updates on Kilauea’s lava flow here.

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