Lava flow moving about 900 feet per day

Photo of the lava flow, taken Sept. 17 (Courtesy USGS)

The lava flow from Kilauea volcano appears to be heading towards Pahoa town, where there are businesses and homes.

But no one has been evacuated yet as of Thursday night.

The lava flow has advanced about four hundred yards over the past 24 hours.

The front part of the flow is about 50 yards wide and is a little over two miles from Highway 130.

There have not been any brush fires from the lava.

Hawaii County Civil Defense held another public meeting Thursday night in Pahoa to update people who live and work in the area.

At first it seemed like the homes in the Kaohe subdivision were in danger.

But now it appears the lava took a significant turn to the northeast, and skirted Kaohe, going across the back of the agricultural subdivision.

Instead, the lava now appears to be heading towards the next town over — Pahoa town.  That’s according to Civil Defense.

“So Kaohe is not out of the woods, but definitely in a better position than what they were earlier.  And we’re looking in the areas in Pahoa that are in the vicinity of where the county’s solid waste transfer station is on Apaa Street, and then continuing through the northern part of the town itself.  Hard to say exactly what the area will be but the areas to the north of where the post office is and going in that direction,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira.

“And it’s traveling about 300 yards per day.  If it maintains that rate, it’s about eight days to this Apaa Street, which is just up slope from Pahoa, or 12 days to reach Pahoa if it continues at that rate,” said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Geologist Matt Patrick.

No one has been evacuated just yet, but Civil Defense, along with the Red Cross, are working to identify places that could be used as shelters on both sides of the lava flow should it cross Highway 130.

Smoke is also a big concern — especially for folks in Pahoa and lower Puna who have breathing problems.  So it’s a good idea to stay indoors especially in the morning when the smoke is typically the heaviest.

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