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Lava resumes slow advance to Pahoa, Highway 130

    Only a handful of small breakouts were active along the leading tip of the flow on Wednesday.

HILO  >> After several days of widening without significantly advancing, the leading edge of the lava flow approaching Pahoa flowed about 50 yards downhill and was about 635 yards upslope of the Pahoa Police and Fire stations and Highway 130, officials said after observing the flow Monday morning.

The former flow front and southern edge of the flow remained stalled, Hawaii County Civil Defense said after a Monday overflight.

Two other breakouts along the north margin about 1 to 1.5 miles upslope or behind the flow front are active, but have not significantly advanced. There are also other active breakouts along the north and south margins of the flow and within the flow area, but the lava activity does not pose an immediate threat to residents.

Meanwhile, uncertainty over lava flow has prompted Hawaii County to put a hold on a program that allowed the planning department to purchase homes near a geothermal power plant to address health concerns.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported the county’s planning department instituted a moratorium on the program and may evaluate it during this period.

The Puna Geothermal Venture power plant and neighboring homes have not been directly impacted by the lava flow. But officials say the concern comes from the possibility of the flow hampering access to the area and the 38-megawatt plant having to shut down if it loses transmission lines.

If that happens, there will be no funding of the geothermal royalties, which are used for purchases.

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