Lava breakouts ‘very sluggish’

The breakouts above the front of the lava flow threatening Pahoa town remained active on Sunday morning, but “very sluggish,” according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

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The breakouts above the front of the lava flow threatening Pahoa town remained active on Sunday morning, but “very sluggish,” according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

A morning overflight of the flow revealed that the three active breakouts were not advancing, according to a 7:30 a.m. Civil Defense update.

Located in the area of the cemetery below Apa‘a Street along the southern flank of the flow, above Apa’a Street in the area mauka of the Pahoa Transfer Station, and 200 yards upslope of Apa’a Street to the north of the station, the breakouts “currently do not pose an immediate threat to area residents and will be monitored closely,” reads an update by Civil Defense.

The leading edge of the flow has remained stalled at 480 feet above Pahoa Village Road, and all expansion of the lava last week was due to the movement of the breakouts. On Monday, the cemetery breakout destroyed a Cemetery Road home, and on Tuesday the breakout just above Cemetery Road encroached on the transfer station, oozing through a surrounding fence and burning its asphalt driveway.

On Sunday, all burning related to the breakouts was limited to vegetation only, according to the update.

“Smoke conditions are moderate with a light trade wind blowing the smoke in a south-southeast direction,” the update reads. “Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents downwind that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to make necessary precautions and to remain indoors.”

An evacuation advisory for residents downslope of the flow remained in effect over the weekend. The advisory does not require residents to evacuate, but serves as a reminder, according to Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira. Area residents have been praised by Civil Defense for their preparations and reactions to advisories, and Oliveira has said he does not anticipate needing to call for a mandatory evacuation.

Pahoa Village Road between Apa‘a Street and Post Office Road remained closed and limited to area residents only.

“Access to the businesses and commercial areas of the Pahoa town can be made through the Pahoa Village Road at the intersection of Highways 130 and 132 and the Post Office Road,” the update reads. “We apologize for any inconvenience the road closure may be presenting … and remind everyone that the Pahoa town center and businesses are open and accessible.”

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Police reopened Post Office Road on Thursday in an attempt to ease access to Pahoa businesses.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune- herald.com.

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