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Vacationland completely wiped out by lava

  • This aerial image from Tuesday, June 5, shows the Kapoho Bay area after it was filled with lava from Kilauea volcano's fissure No. 8. Since this photo was taken, the remaining homes in Vacationland, seen in top portion of the photo, have been destroyed.

Vacationland is gone.

That was the message Wednesday morning from Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim. She said that lava from Kilauea volcano had completely covered the subdivision in Kapoho and at last report, just a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots remained. Lava continues to pour into the ocean, enlarging the delta at the former Kapoho Bay site.

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Snyder said the official tally of homes lost is at 130 since May 3, when the current eruption began. She noted that does not count the homes lost at Kapoho, since those have to be verified by drone overflight and comparison with tax department maps, and that hundreds more still need to be counted.

There were about 500 homes in the Kapoho area.

Snyder quoted Kim, who had a second home in Vacationland, as saying, “Hundreds of homes and a lifestyle is gone.”

Fissure no. 8 is the only one currently active, but walls of a perched pond from the fissure are expected to break and send more lava oozing toward the ocean.

According to Snyder, a number of drone operators have been cited for violating the temporary flight restriction area over lava flows.

Snyder also noted that Gov. David Ige’s second emergency proclamation, which eased permitting regulations to help with the building of temporary housing for lava evacuees, also made it a full misdemeanor to interfere with emergency personnel of any type, not just law enforcement authorities.

Ige is coming to Hilo Thursday to meet with Kim, Snyder said, and the main focus will be on fast-tracking temporary housing.

According to Snyder, Kim said, “Things that took weeks and months to get done in the past has now taken days.”

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A public meeting on air quality is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at the West Hawaii Civic Center council chambers in Kailua-Kona.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com