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    August 2014
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Lava Flow Update – Steam Suggests Flow Advancing Again Towards Pahoa

Steaming extends northeast along ground crack, suggesting lava is advancing again along the crack

Steaming (center of photograph) was reported this morning east of the small pad of lava (just above center) that emerged from a ground crack this past week. This renewed progression of steaming suggests that lava is again continuing to advance beneath the surface, along these ground cracks. On our afternoon overflight, the farthest point of steaming was near an abandoned well site, which serves as a convenient landmark in this broad expanse of forest. The farthest steaming was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. In the top portion of the photograph, numerous plumes of smoke originate from scattered surface flows burning vegetation. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen on the horizon.

This figure compares the photo above with an equivalent view from a thermal camera. The plumes of smoke mark the farthest active lava on the surface (small, scattered lobes of pāhoehoe), which are also shown as small hotspots in the thermal image. The pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week was inactive at the surface but still quite warm (high temperature patch in center of image). East of this pad of lava, steaming (just below the center of the photograph) has appeared over the past day, suggesting that lava is continuing to advance below the surface along a ground crack. Direct views into the crack were not possible due to thick vegetation, but close views of the steaming areas with the thermal camera reveal temperatures up to 190 C (370 F). These high temperature are further evidence of lava moving through the crack.

A closer of the new steaming. The thick vegetation obscures direct views of the ground crack, and only a line of steaming and browned vegetation is evident at the surface.

Slow-moving pāhoehoe advances through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The pāhoehoe lobes surround, and burn through, the base of the trees. By the time the trees topple over, the lava surface temperature has cooled sufficiently that the downed trees do not completely burn through, leaving a field of tree trunks on the recent lava surface. One tree in the center of the photograph is completely surrounded by active lava, and likely on the brink of toppling over.

Another view of the lava expanding into the forest.
Closer to the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, one of several skylights provides a view of the flowing lava stream within the lava tube. This lava tube supplies lava from the vent to the active surface flows near the flow front.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

New Lava Flow Map Released – Lava Flow Once Again Advancing

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 28, 2014:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow as mapped on August 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 28 is shown in red. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

The only place where lava significantly widened the margin was at the most distant surface breakout, which was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. The brown line at the far end of the flow marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it later emerged to form a new pad of lava.

Yesterday, there was no surface activity there and no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks. This morning, however, steam was rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground.

The most distant steaming area was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

Mayor Kenoi Statement on FEMA Denial of Funds for Iselle Victims

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi issued the following statement in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of the state’s request for individual assistance:

“We are very disappointed in FEMA’s decision to deny the state’s request for individual assistance for the victims of Tropical Storm Iselle. Our residents and families suffered destroyed homes, property losses and many other impacts from this historic storm. For many people, their lives have still not returned to normal, and the federal government must help our communities. We strongly urge Governor Abercrombie to appeal the FEMA decision directly to President Obama. We hope the president will recognize that the residents of Puna need his help, and deserve all the support and assistance that we can give them.”

Puna Officer Named East Hawaii “Officer of the Month”

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Dwight Walker on Thursday (August 28) as East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for August.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Dwight Walker.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Dwight Walker.

Walker, a Puna Patrol officer, was honored for a theft investigation that led to the arrest of a man suspected of multiple crimes.

In July, Walker responded to a report of a theft of fishing items from a garage in the Ainaloa subdivision. Early in the investigation, he canvassed businesses until he was able to identify a suspect and a vehicle description, including a license plate.

A few days later, police received a tip that the suspect’s car was near the scene of the initial theft. When Officer Walker arrived at the scene, the suspect fled into the bushes. The victim’s items were visible in his car, so Walker began the process of obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle.

Other officers conducted a lengthy search in the heavy brush and located the suspect, who was in the possession of hydrocodone pills and marijuana. He was arrested on two outstanding warrants and charged with theft and drug offenses as well as burglary for another break-in earlier that day and for an unrelated case involving a stolen car. His bail was set at $38,000.

Lieutenant Reed Mahuna credited Walker’s early work on the case with the successful outcome. “Although the apprehension of this suspect was the result of teamwork and persistence of many patrol officers, it was Officer Walker’s timely and thorough initial investigation that put the pieces together to build a solid case,” Mahuna said in nomination papers. “The defendant in this case is likely responsible for a rash of unsolved crimes occurring in the district and his arrest likewise reduced future crimes he would commit in the foreseeable future to support his drug habit.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Walker is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Civil Defense Message – Eruption Information Update

This is an Eruption Information Update for Thursday August 28th at 12:30pm.

This morning’s helicopter over flight and assessment showed that there is presently no surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity. The evidence is limited to steam plumes along the area of the crack.

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

Forest Legacy

The location of the crack and areas of the steam is approximately 1.7 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation. In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.

Thank you and have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense

EPA Awards $200,000 to Children’s Defense Fund – Will Advance Environmental Stewardship on the Big Island

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $200,000 to the Children’s Defense Fund for their “Mauka to Makai” project designed to improve environmental education in their summer learning centers and partner schools on the Big Island.
EPA LOGOThe “Mauka to Makai” (Mountain to Sea) project will incorporate environmental themes across all core and non-core academic subjects with an emphasis on resource management and habitat restoration.

“We’re pleased to be part of an environmental education effort highlighting flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The “Mauka to Makai” stewardship will increase the protection of Hawaiian ecosystems from threats like invasive species, climate change, and habitat loss.”

Using a combination of student learning experiences, professional development for classroom educators, and strengthened partnerships linking public schools and local environmental agencies, the project will implement an environmental education model to increase community-wide knowledge of important environmental issues and foster the skills needed to help students, educators, families and the community make decisions about environmental responsibility and stewardship. The Mauka to Makai project aims to increase environmental knowledge on the Big Island by educating more than 7,000 students, providing professional development to over 100 educators, and supporting community projects through sub-awards.

The larger goal is to make the Mauka to Makai a model program that can be replicated across the nation with local partners and national experts. The project can be replicated with a similar focus on land to water resource issues or its focus can change with geographic location to highlight the regional environmental priorities of any given area.

The EPA Environmental Education Model Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness about environmental issues and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Mauka to Makai project is one of two projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that received an environmental education grant.

FEMA Aid Denied to Hawaii and Iselle Victims

The State of Hawaii’s request for a major disaster declaration due to Tropical Storm Iselle was denied today by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate. The request sought Individual Assistance for individuals and households affected by the tropical storm in early August and Hazard Mitigation funds for use in statewide projects.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014.    Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014. Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Administrator Fugate’s denial letter states: “it has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies.”

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly known as State Civil Defense, continues to work with federal and county officials on an application for assistance to rebuild public infrastructure.

People still in need of assistance following Iselle should call Hawaii County at (808) 935-0031 or the volunteer request line at (808) 464-3175.

The American Red Cross and the Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters continues to take donations to help those affected by Iselle. Donations can be made through the following channels:

American Red Cross (Hawaii Chapter), Phone: (808) 734-2101 http://www.redcross.org/hi/honolulu

Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

Hurricane Iselle Long-Term Relief and Recovery Fund

Iselle donations may be dropped off at any American Savings Bank.

https://hivoad.communityos.org/cms/contact_hi

 

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Thursday August 28 at 7:00 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes.  Maximum Height: 58 degrees, and it will appear in the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the Southeast.