comscore Lava ignites brush fire near Pahoa as breakouts creep close to front | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Lava ignites brush fire near Pahoa as breakouts creep close to front

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PAHOA, Hawaii » The Hawaii County Fire Department was managing a lava-fueled brush fire Tuesday near the stalled flow front in Pahoa. The fire covered about 150 acres.

According to a Hawaii County Civil Defense update, the brush fire ignited west of Highway 130, about 1.5 miles from the area’s Aina­loa subdivision.

Civil Defense said Tuesday afternoon that neither the brush fire nor the stalled lava flow poses an immediate threat to area communities.

The flow front and its south margin breakout area have been stalled since Friday about a half-mile from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. However, surface activity and widening was noted about 300 yards upslope of that area.

Meanwhile, two breakouts about 1 to 1.5 miles upslope of the stalled flow front had moved about 20 yards since Monday while smoke and vog conditions were heavy, Civil Defense said.

Southwest wind blew the smoke in a northeast direction over areas of lower Puna and Hilo on the east side of Hawaii island.

Before the lava flow slowed and stalled, it was on course to reach the highway’s intersection with Pahoa Village Road and nearby Pahoa Marketplace during the Christmas holiday.

In response, several businesses in the lower Puna area, including a gas station, grocery store and a Longs Drugs, shut down operations as a precaution.

Since the Kilauea Volcano lava reached the Pahoa area in October, it has crossed a street, flowed into a Buddhist cemetery, destroyed multiple structures, burned a house and penetrated the fence line of the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station.

Public viewing of the lava flow is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the recycling and transfer station. The viewing area will close Feb. 1 while county officials begin to assess the damage to the facility caused by the so-called June 27 lava flow.

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