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Lava flows faster toward Pahoa

  • COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    The June 27 flow front entered the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and is currently within the vacant
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The lava flow in Puna appears to be moving faster as it moves downslope on a path toward Pahoa and a major highway.

An overflight of the flow showed that lava advanced about 350 yards since Tuesday.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists say the lava has moved an average of about 890 feet a day since Monday, slightly higher than the rate of about 705 feet a day between Friday and Sunday.

The front of the flow is about 100 yards wide and is burning through vacant land in the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.

“Currently the flow does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary. There is no brushfire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the vegetation that is in direct contact with the flow,” Hawaii County Civil Defense said in a statement posted on its website.

Smoke in the area was moderate to heavy Wednesday morning over the Kaohe area.

Volcano scientists said the flow is about 1.7 miles upslope from Apa’a Road. The lava has advanced about 9.9 miles from the Pu’u ‘O’o vent since it began on June 27. Measuring bends, the flow extends about 11.3 miles, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

On Tuesday, Hawaii County spokesman Kevin Dayton said it looks like the lava will bypass homes in the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.

He said that as of Tuesday, the lava was about 19 days from reaching Pahoa Village Road. The road is the main drag though Pahoa Village and from there, it could reach Highway 130. The highway is a lifeline for residents living on the Big Island’s Puna district.

Workers continue to prepare unpaved roads to be used as alternate routes in case lava crosses the highway.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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