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Lava flow from Kilauea slows significantly


PAHOA, Hawaii>>The new leading edge of the Puna lava flow from Kilauea Volcano that was advancing toward the area’s main highway has slowed down significantly during the past few days.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said the breakout along the north side of the flow is active but sluggish, advancing a mere 15 yards since Monday.

“This morning’s overflight showed not much movement or advancement in the downslope breakout,” he said.

Earlier last week the lava was heading downslope at a steady rate, but the last time the flow moved a significant amount was about 70 yards from Saturday to Sunday. The breakout did not move from Sunday to Monday.

The leading edge of the breakout is still about 0.4 miles from the area of the highway that is mauka of the Pahoa police and fire stations.

And while the slowdown in advancement rate is good news for area residents, it does not mean there’s less lava going into the tube system.

“There’s not a diminished magma supply, but it is fluctuating,” said Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  

Meanwhile, two other breakouts along the north margin of the flow, approximately 1 to 1.5 miles further upslope, are also active but remain sluggish and are showing little signs of advancement.

Hawaii County Fire Department personnel continue to monitor burning activity caused by the lava flow within lower Puna. All fires that occurred are contained and burning activity is limited to hot spots and flare-ups, Civil Defense reports.

There is currently no fire threat to area residents and properties.

Smoke conditions were light to moderate Tuesday with a light northeast wind blowing the smoke in a southwest direction.

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