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Lava advances 50 yards, edging closer to highway

    One of many small breakouts on the surface of the June 27th flow immediately upslope of the leading edge. Many inflation features are present on the flow, including the tumulus in upper right.

PAHOA, Hawaii » Hawaii County Civil Defense said Monday the latest lava flow moved 50 yards overnight after almost a week of little activity.

Civil Defense Director Darryl Oli­veira said there was more activity occurring at the new advancing flow front, with lava moving northeast.

The leading edge is about 30 yards wide and about 0.36 mile from the area of Highway 130 that is west of the Pahoa police and fire stations.

Lava was originally heading toward the sea, but Oli­veira said it did not appear to be moving consistently in that direction.

Last week Steve Brantley, with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told residents at a community meeting in Pahoa that the flow could take two paths: one that heads toward the highway and another that would take it toward an anthurium farm.

Jim Kauahikaua, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist-in-charge, said Monday the flow still has about 50 more yards to go before it makes a decision on which path to take.

The latest breakout started earlier in January about several hundred yards behind the original flow front, which remains stalled. That previously advancing flow is idle, about 660 yards behind the Pahoa Marketplace and about 0.5 mile away from the Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130 intersection.

Breakouts continue along the north side of the flow about 1 to 1.5 miles behind the front. These breakouts remain active but have not advanced significantly, Civil Defense reported.

Meanwhile, an overnight rain helped prevent brush fires, Oli­veira said. Multiple brush fires caused by lava broke out during the past few weeks as weather conditions were relatively dry.

An early morning inspection Sunday showed no flames but some smoldering, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.

The public viewing area at the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station will close Tuesday and Wednesday for student visits. The area will close again Sunday as work begins to reopen the facility.

Oliveira said he is looking into alternative public viewing areas.

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