Lava moves closer to communities on Hawaii Island

Courtesy: USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Lava is now less than two football fields away from a subdivision on Hawaii Island.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the lava is about 0.1 miles from the Kaohe Homesteads boundary. The subdivision is made up of about 30 homes.

County officials are still going door-to-door, making sure everyone understands the threat. At this time, an evacuation order has not been issued.

“At the present time, it’s moving parallel to the community. So it’s not posing any change or threat to the residents themselves,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said. “This morning’s overflight shows it moved about 150 yards since [Friday]. So a little slower progress over the last 24 hours. But there’s still no indication that it’s going to stop.”

On Saturday, about 2,000 people showed up to the lava flow informational fair at Pahoa High School. County agencies, along with private companies and other groups, were all on-hand to provide residents with resources.

“My hope is that people were able to get questions asked and answered. Based on the questions that were being posed to us with some of the community meetings such as, ‘What’s the status of my insurance policy?’ ‘What’s the issues or possibilities with my mortgage and loans?'” Oliveira said.

There’s also concern that the lava could impact roadways. Officials say the lava is about 3.2 miles away from Pahoa Village Road and 3.5 miles away Highway 130. Both are very busy thoroughfares.

“If it continues, as it has been, and actually crosses those two roads, that will just have a major disruptive effect on the Pahoa community,” said Hawaii County Spokesperson Kevin Dayton.

For that reason, crews are constructing two evacuation routes: Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road. Both are rarely used.

“These are dirt roads. And the bulldozers are opening them up, leveling them, clearing away vegetation. Gravel is being dropped in some sections of these roads to provide alternate access in the event that Highway 130 is cut,” Dayton said.

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