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Authorities to try to kill Puna geothermal wells with cold water


    Smoke billowed from a lava fissure near a home in Puna’s Leilani Estates subdivision Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities expect to begin pumping cold water into at least one Puna Geothermal Venture well today in an effort to kill wells that are threatened by the active flow at Kilauea Volcano, county officials said.

Residents around PGV’s Pohoiki power plant have worried that earthquakes or a lava flow could cause an uncontrolled blowout that would spew toxic gases into their communities.

Tom Travis, administrator of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, is monitoring the operation.

In a related development, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Hawaii National Guard deputy adjutant general, has been authorized by President Donald Trump and Gov. David Ige as dual status commander making him able to call on both National Guard and active duty troops to assist with the ongoing situation.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory is reporting that fissures 18 and 13 were briefly active overnight, but that 18 is slowing, and fissure 13 is no longer active, county officials said. Fissure 17, which had put out a flow more than a mile toward the ocean, has not advanced since Tuesday, they said.

Highway 130 remains open to local traffic — toward Leilani Estate and into Kalapana.

The Hawaii Fire Department reported dangerous air quality around fissures in the southeast section of Lanipuna Gardens and surrounding farm lots on Pohoiki Road.

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake at 8:36 a.m. was centered near the summit of Kilauea, according to Pacific Tsunami Warning Center officials.

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