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Lava flow front not hot, thermal testing reveals

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PAHOA, Hawaii » A thermal survey of the front of the stalled lava flow coming from Kilauea Volcano shows no signs of any hot spots.

Mike Poland, a geologist from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said scientists conducted a survey of part of the flow front Monday. The area below the current activity, about 3.5 miles from Apaa Street, shows the lava is "dying off" and cooling.

"That doesn’t mean it can’t be reoccupied, because the tube system does exist, but there’s no active lava in that lower section," Poland said.

Monday’s assessment showed continued activity 3.5 miles above Apaa Street north of the abandoned geothermal well site.

County officials continued work Tuesday tied to the planned reopening of Pahoa Village Road, between Apaa Street and Post Office Road, which was closed in October when lava threatened to cross it. The stretch of roadway is anticipated to be open by Thanksgiving.

Hawaiian Electric Light Co. crews are removing cinder and other material wrapped around wooden poles as a measure of protection from the lava.

However, some protective features will be left in place. The county Department of Public Works assessed the effort Monday and will be making some last-minute recommendations, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oli­veira.

The deadline for state, county and select nonprofit organizations to apply for public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency is Dec. 3.

Kelly Hudson, a FEMA spokes­woman, said Tuesday that eight agencies have applied so far, including the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science; the county Department of Water Supply, Civil Defense, Department of Public Works, and Department of Environmental Management; and the state Health, Transportation and Education departments.

"We’re still assessing applications," she said.

Next week National Guard staff now in Pahoa will be reduced, said Maj. Jeff Hickman. More than 80 National Guard members were deployed to the area last month when the lava was making its slow advance toward the town.

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