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UPDATE: 4:23 p.m.
As of noon today, the leading edge of the lava flow from Fissure No. 3 has slowed down as it was located 2.1 miles from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
No communities are currently at risk from the eruption, officials said.
“You are reminded that all areas adjacent to Daniel K. Inouye Highway, and Old Saddle Road, and near the lava flow are CLOSED and prohibited from access to the public. Please stay in the designated areas to avoid hazards and further closure,” according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.
Gov. David Ige and Hawaii National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara activated about 20 guardsmen servicemembers to assist Hawaii County with the ongoing Mauna Loa eruption, according to a news release this afternoon. Ige’s office sent the announcement after Josh Green was sworn into office as Hawaii’s ninth governor since statehood.
The guardsmen will be placed on State Active Duty and will be working with local law enforcement to support traffic control near the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
According to the press release, the National Guard anticipates its troops to remain activated for 30 days, but the timeframe could be shortened or extended depending on the flow of the lava and its potential impacts. The National Guard was previously activated in 2014 and 2018 for both Kilauea eruption response operations.
The lava flow from the Mauna Loa eruption continues to spread out on the flat ground. It’s now about 2.2 miles from the intersection of the old Saddle Road and Daniel K. Inouye Highway, said Ken Hon, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory during a news briefing this morning. The lava is spreading like “really thick pancake batter,” Hon said.
The flow is moving about 50 feet per hour. The effusion rate from the lava vent is between 100 and 150 cubic yards per second.
The observatory has also received reports of Pele’s hair reaching Laupahoehoe, Mauna Kea Visitor Center and the Pohakuloa Training Area.
During the briefing, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said, “With the lava being where it’s at, we’re feel pretty certain that the lava is not going to impact any populated areas.”
Roth said they are concerned about the lava reaching Saddle Road but the lava “has slowed down quite considerably.”
Meanwhile, a lot of people continue to view the lava from the 4.5-mile Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route over the weekend.
Roth reminded spectators to stay by their cars at the mitigation route and not hike into the lava fields. “It is dangerous out there and so we want people to be safe,” he said during today’s briefing.
A majority of spectators are following the rules but every so often people has been seen venturing into the lava fields.
“We’re going to be upping our enforcement to prevent that,” Roth said.
Authorities temporarily closed the route for Sunday for a couple of hours after a civilian found an unexploded ordnance off of the mitigation route. The lava flow was about 2.1 miles away from where the ordnance was found, according to Pohakuloa Training Area commander Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin.
The device found was a training ordnance that produces smoke.
Cronin echoed Roth’s sentiment about the dangers of hiking in the lava fields, particularly at night and reminded spectators to stay near their vehicles. “We want everyone to be as safe as possible,” Cronin said.
The Mauna Loa eruption has reached its eighth day as the lava flow marches slowly north toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, which remains open to traffic in both directions.
U.S. Geological Survey officials report the lava flow has slowed down significantly over the past several days due to the relatively flat ground.
As of 6:30 a.m. today, the flow front was located about 2.16 miles from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Officials recorded several small overflows in recent days.
Over the past 24 hours, the lava flow from the only active Fissure No. 3 moved at an average rate of about 25 feet per hour. On Sunday, the average rate of movement was about 40 feet per hour, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Officials have said it is difficult to estimate when or if the flow will affect the key highway due to the direction and timing of the lava flow.
Pele’s hair, which are strands of volcanic glass fragments, has been reported to reach as far Laupahoehoe.
No communities are currently at risk, civil defense officials said.