Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Assistance Locating Vessel in Distress off Kona

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s assistance after receiving a mayday call from a mariner in distress approximately 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona Thursday.

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center received a mayday call over VHF radio channel 16 from a distressed mariner at 8:03 a.m. The mariner reported flooding on his small boat and provided a GPS position before communications were lost.

HC-130 Hercules

HC-130 Hercules

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched at 8:30 a.m. from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

The crews arrived on scene and began searching. The Hercules crew dropped a self-locating datum marker buoy to track the currents and assist in plotting a search area.

Current on scene weather conditions are 40-mile per hour winds, 20 foot seas and clear visibility.

The description of the vessel and number of people aboard are unknown.

Anyone with information that could assist in identifying the mariner in distress, the vessel, or voyage plan should contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

Thermal Images Shows Pahoa Not Out of Danger Yet

This satellite image was captured today by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see.

Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.  (Click to enlarge)

Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds. (Click to enlarge)

Although the farthest tip of the June 27th lava flow, in Pāhoa, is stalled, this image shows that breakouts remain active upslope.

These breakouts are focused in two areas. First, there is a breakout about 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Second, breakouts are active in the area of ground cracks farther downslope.

The farthest tip of these breakouts has advanced a short distance north over the past day and was 5.8 km (3.6 miles) upslope of Apaʻa St. as measured along a straight line.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active Around Ground Crack System and Well Site

The farthest downslope breakouts today are still situated around the ground crack system, near the abandoned well site. The front of these breakouts was about 500 m (0.3 miles) northeast of the well site, and about 1.9 km (1.2 miles) west of Kaohe Homesteads.

These breakouts were covering the existing flow and burning forest on its margins.  (Click to enlarge)

These breakouts were covering the existing flow and burning forest on its margins. (Click to enlarge)

Much of the active lava was covering the existing flow around the ground crack system, with small portions entering the forest at the flow margins.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The activity in the forest triggered brush fires and frequent methane explosions.

An HVO geologist examines a ground crack into which lava was pouring near the flow margin, producing large amounts of steam.  Click to enlarge

An HVO geologist examines a ground crack into which lava was pouring near the flow margin, producing large amounts of steam. Click to enlarge

Nominations Sought For The Hawaii Big Tree Competition

The holiday season marks the beginning of the annual Hawaii Big Tree Competition.  Sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife and American Forests, the program focuses attention on the largest trees in each species, as a way to raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition does not have a champion for the following Hawaiian species that are eligible for the National Big Tree Program.  Therefore, any tree nominated from the following list will likely be crowned a champion.

Big Tree

The 10 current Hawai‘i champions are listed below. To replace a current champion, the challenger tree must have more total points.  Total Points = Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet).

  • Niu (Cocos nucifera) in Hawea Heiau Complex and Keawawa Wetland, O‘ahu
    (Circumference: 13.5) (Height: 112) (Crown Spread: 16.42)
  • Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) in Waikoloa Dry Forest, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 186.96) (Height: 40) (Crown Spread: 43.50)
  • Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island  (Circumference: 204.52) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 42.58)
  • Pāpalakēpau (Pisonia brunoniana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 52.46) (Height: 28) (Crown Spread: 15.25)
  • Māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 165) (Height: 24) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Kōlea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 85.14) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Koa (Acacia koa) in Kona Hema Preserve, South Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 343) (Height: 115) (Crown Spread: 93)
  • Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in Hulihe‘e Palace, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 110) (Height: 20) (Crown Spread: 25)
  • A‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa) in Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 23) (Height: 17) (Crown Spread: 16)
  • Mānele (Sophora chrysophylla) in Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 30) (Height: 73) (Crown Spread: 57)

To nominate a tree, contact Hawai‘i Big Tree coordinator Kylee Ah Choy at (808) 587-0164 and provide the tree height, trunk circumference, and average crown spread.  Also, please know your tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

Big Tree Madness 1 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

For more on the Hawaii Big Tree Program: dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/info/big-tree/
For more on the National Big Tree Program: www.americanforests.org/bigtrees/bigtrees-search/

Mālamalama Waldorf School Visits Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge

Mālamalama Waldorf School’s seventh and eighth grade students recently took part in a two-day trip to Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as part of the Teaching Change program. Teaching Change led by Scott Laursen of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa is a program implementing conservation education curriculum for local youth using Hakalau NWR as an outdoor classroom. Students learned concepts and methods of environmental science; climate change; phenology; conservation and restoration on the island of Hawai‘i.

Day one consisted of a service-learning project where students removed invasive Banana Poka from the native forest.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Day two included a guided bird walk led by Dr. Pat Hart of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and a visit to the U.S. Geological Survey bird banding station where Dr. Eben Paxton (USGS) and crew shared with students about mosquito-borne bird diseases such as avian malaria and avian pox, both, significant threats to Hawai‘i’s native forest birds. Students observed some of Hawai‘i’s most rare and endangered birds.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

When asked about her experience at Hakalau NWR, student Zoey Block said, “Removing the banana poka was cool, because I was helping the forest and all the threatened and endangered species that depend on it. Also, getting to see the native birds up close was exciting.”

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

School Director Kelley Lacks, who accompanied the students, had this to add, “To see the students engaged in learning about native species and working directly with them, it was obvious there will be long term effects … future scientists and care takers of our land”.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active Near Cemetery – Additional Breakouts Upslope

Sluggish breakouts remain active near cemetery, with additional breakouts upslope

Click to enlarge

Slowly moving breakouts were active a short distance north of the cemetery, and were 630 meters (0.4 miles) upslope of Pāhoa Village Rd.

Click to enlarge

Inflation along the lava tube has created a long ridge with a deep, semi-continuous crack along the ridge centerline (right side of image). The peak of the ridge, by rough estimate, is about 4 meters (13 feet) above the original ground surface. This photo looked northeast along the trend of the tube, just south of the cemetery. The short section of uncovered road is the cemetery access road.

Click to enlarge

A close look into a tree mold on a recently active portion of the June 27th lava flow.

Click to enlarge

Earlier in the week lava reached the outer fence of the transfer station, sending several small cascades through the fence and down the embankment. Burning of the asphalt continued for several days. Now that burning has ceased at the transfer station, a closer look at these features was possible. Note that the lava which stalled at the fence line subsequently inflated to a height slightly greater than that of the fence.

TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT’s THINK Fund initiative benefits Hawaii Island students pursuing STEM endeavors with an annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process.

“During our numerous meetings, TMT and the community discussed how to collaborate to fulfill the shared dream of building the world’s most advanced telescope. The idea for the THINK Fund to invest in the education of students in the STEM field was germinated,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “With the launch of the THINK Fund, we are embarking on two transformational adventures – exploring the frontiers of the universe and providing educational opportunities for Hawaii’s students, both now and for future generations.”

The Thirty Meter Telescope initiated dialogue on the formation of THINK Fund in 2008 by asking a group of community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund benefitting Hawaii Island students. The Organizing Committee that developed TMT’s THINK Fund structure was comprised of Hawaii Island residents.

“After years of THINK Fund planning and reflection, the aspirations of dedicated community members are being realized with TMT’s first annual $1 million contribution, set in motion by the start of our construction phase,” said TMT Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “As a mother of two teachers, I am so pleased with the THINK Fund’s potential to furnish Hawaii Island students with an easier path to reach for the stars. TMT’s THINK Fund initiative will not only help Hawaii Island students with the tools to excel in STEM areas and the channels to get into college, it can also provide students with the means to get through college.”

The Organizing Committee determined that scholarships, grant making and the establishment of an endowment would ensure the sustainability of improving educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students in STEM disciplines. It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture.

TMT’s annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. The foundations will administer their respective THINK Funds independently and will have autonomy in administering grant funds, determining scholarship recipients, and the selection and governance of Advisory Committees.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation

Grants are available by application to THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation beginning November 20th and will support a variety of Hawaii Island STEM student activities in and after-school, internship programs and teacher-generated STEM classroom projects. Scholarships will support current and future STEM teachers on Hawaii Island as well as students pursuing STEM degrees and training. Scholarship applications will be available online on December 1st, 2014.

“For the past 98 years, Hawaii Community Foundation has had the privilege of serving our island communities across the state,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation. “We’re honored to be the stewards of the THINK Fund at HCF that will support STEM education on Hawaii Island for generations to come.”

Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation are Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons and Barry Taniguchi. The Advisory Committee, facilitated by Hawaii Community Foundation staff, will assist with strategy development, review grant proposals, make grant decisions and encourage STEM education for Hawaii Island.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students including Native Hawaiians, teachers with STEM classroom projects and organizations providing STEM and internship programs that directly benefit Hawaii Island. Learn more and apply at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org <http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org> .

The Hawaii Island office of Hawaii Community Foundation is located in Waimea.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation

Scholarship Programs will be the initial focus of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. Grant making is being considered for the future.

“With Hawaii Island having the second largest population of Native Hawaiians in the state of Hawaii, our partnership with TMT provides much-needed financial support for Hawaiian learners from Hawaii Island to pursue educational opportunities in STEM,” said Hawaii Island resident and Pauahi Foundation Executive Director Keawe Liu.

Advisory committee members of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation are Roberta Chu, Kaeo Duarte, Leinaala Enos, David Kaapu, Bob Lindsey, Gail Makuakane-Lundin and Maile Wong.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students with a preference given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. Scholarship applications will be available online on February 4, 2015 at www.pauahi.org <http://www.pauahi.org> .

THINK Fund Collaboration

THINK Fund was designed as an initiative to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawaii Island’s workforce, and TMT is serving as the founding member of the THINK Fund initiative. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawaii Island students long term.

What’s Next For TMT?

Construction activities in Hawaii include site preparation and grading.

tmt

Offsite work has begun in earnest as well. In China, partners are designing the telescope’s fully articulated main science steering mirror system and developing the laser guide star system. Japan has produced over sixty special zero thermal-expansion glass mirror blanks for the main mirror and is designing the telescope structure in detail. Fabricating the mirror support system is ongoing in India. The adaptive optics facility is in final design and the enclosure is ready for construction in Canada. The primary mirror and mirror control system is in final design in California.

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

Lava Flow Active Upslope and Downslope From Apa’a Street

20141113 June 27th Lava Overflight from ‘Ena Media Hawaii on Vimeo.

June 27th flow lobes active upslope and downslope from Apaʻa Street

Click to enlarge

Lava continues to advance downslope in several places along the distal part of the June 27th lava flow, as seen in this photo. The most active breakout is the flow to the right, which forms a relatively narrow finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street. Other breakouts include a tiny lobe that is encroaching on the solid waste transfer station, the narrow flow that destroyed and bypassed the house across the street from the transfer station, and weak activity near the cemetery. The view is looking to the east.

Click to enlarge

The small breakout near the solid waste transfer station began spilling into the truck access road that loops around the transfer station. This road is quite a bit lower than the transfer station buildings, and it will likely take a few days for it to fill up, if the breakout remains active. The smoke at upper left is a different breakout, which destroyed the house just across the street from the transfer station a few days ago. The view is to the east-northeast.

Click to enlarge

This photo shows the distal part of the June 27th flow looking toward the southwest. The stalled tip of the flow is barely cut off at the left side of the photo.

Click to enlarge

The house which was recently destroyed by lava is just below the center of the photo. Lava bypassed the garage, which still stands at the center of the photo. Lava briefly entered the fish pond next to the house, before continuing downslope. Also visible is the small active flow next to the transfer station, and the larger, more rapidly moving finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street at upper right. The smoke at upper left marks another breakout widening the flow into the adjacent forest. The view is to the southwest.

Click to enlarge

Lava flows continue to encroach on the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, with the latest activity there coming right up to the edge of the green-roofed shelter. An inflated ridge 3–4 meters high (10–13 feet high) cuts across the cemetery (visible on the near side of the cemetery in the photo), and is the source of the recent and active lava visible at the bottom of the photo.

Click to enlarge

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of the June 27th flow. The stalled flow front exhibits lower surface temperatures (red, purple colors), as it has been stalled for over a week. Upslope, however, scattered breakouts are active and have much higher surface temperatures (white, yellow colors).

Click to enlarge

Another view of the activity near the transfer station, shown by a normal photograph and a thermal image. The white arrows show corresponding points of reference. The left arrow marks the tip of this small lobe (one of many active today), which was approaching Apaʻa St. Small cascades of lava can be seen flowing down the embankment surrounding the transfer station.

Civil Defense Update – House Was Ignited By Lava Flow

This is an eruption and lava flow Information Update for Monday November 10th at 6:30PM

The current assessment shows that the flow front remains stalled with very little activity and has not advanced. The upslope breakout in the area of Apa’a Street near the cemetery entered a private property yesterday morning and the residential structure or house was ignited by the advancing flow at approximately 11:55 this morning.

First house on fire via Mileka Lincoln on Facebook.

First house on fire via Mileka Lincoln on Facebook.

Currently, three active breakouts are being monitored in the areas of the cemetery below Apaʻa Street, in the area west or above the transfer station, and upslope approximately .4 miles from Apaʻa Street. All three breakouts are active and advancing in a northeast direction. These breakouts do not pose an immediate threat to area residents and will be monitored.

Smoke conditions are currently moderate to heavy with light trade winds blowing the smoke in a south southwest direction towards the Leilani and lower Puna areas. Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents down wind that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.

The evacuation advisory for those residents down slope of the flow will continue and residents will be kept informed of the flow status and advancement.

lava flow 1110

The Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office Road will remain closed and limited to area residents only. In addition, Civil Defense and public safety personnel will be operating in the area round the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity. Additional updates will be broadcasted as conditions change.

We would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you for listening and have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Thermal Image Shows Lava Flow Still Active Near Pahoa Village Road

The June 27th lava flow remains active above Pāhoa. The tip of the flow remains stalled about 155 meters (170 yards) from Pāhoa Village Road, which crosses the middle of the photo. Smoke plumes are visible above town, caused by burning vegetation at the site of lava breakouts.

Highway 130 is at the bottom of this photo, which was taken from a helicopter.  (Click to enlarge)

Highway 130 is at the bottom of this photo, which was taken from a helicopter. (Click to enlarge)

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning.

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning.  Click to enlarge

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning. (Click to enlarge)

This image shows a comparison of a normal photograph of the flow front with a thermal image of roughly the same area. The thermal image clearly shows the distribution of active breakouts (white and yellow spots), some of which were active around the cemetery.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The leading tip of the flow, near Pāhoa Village Road, has stalled and has lower temperatures (red colors). Farther upslope, breakouts are active near the transfer station and are also scattered several kilometers upslope of Cemetery Road.

2,000 Students and Employees Affected By Puna Lava Flow

Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High today welcomed new students from the Pahoa Complex who are transitioning schools due to the ongoing lava flow. The remainder of the students will return to classes on Nov. 10.

new school 6

On Oct. 29, the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) announced the indefinite closure of Keonepoko Elementary as the campus is in the anticipated path of the lava flow. Since then, preparations have been made for the transition of those students and others. On Oct. 30, schools closed for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High to allow for preparations and transitions.

new school 5

About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea‘au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary.

The transition of the complexes includes:

  • About 200 Pahoa High students will go to Kea‘au High.
  • About 75 students from Pahoa High & Intermediate and another 75 sixth graders from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will attend Kea‘au Middle.
  • About 300 Keonepoko students will be attending “Keonepoko North,” which is the temporary school that has been set up in Kea‘au High’s lower parking lot. In addition, 150 Pahoa Elementary students will also be attending Keonepoko North.
  • An estimated 20 Keonepoko preschool students will go to Kea‘au Elementary.
  • Fifteen special needs students from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will transition to Mountain View Elementary.
  • On Monday, Nov. 10, school begins for students assigned to Keonepoko North, and students who are currently enrolled at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary.

In all, 1,700 students and 300 employees are affected in this transition process.

new school 3

“Our administrators, faculty and staff have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition,” stated Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa. “During this process, furniture was moved, school schedules had to be redone and other student services were adjusted. It is important that our transitioning students feel welcomed in their new school, as well as employees who have been assigned to other schools. Individuals and community organizations have also contributed to this effort and we are very grateful for their support.”

DOE officials were in attendance at last night’s weekly community meeting at Pahoa High. Schools have also held parent meetings throughout this process.

 

Lava Flow Inflating – Before/After Shot of Apa’a Street Utility Pole

The main mode of growth of the June 27th lava flow over the past several days has been inflation (thickening) of the flow.

Before/After shot courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory (Click to Enlarge)

Before/After shot courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory (Click to Enlarge)

The photos above were taken where lava crossed Apaʻa Street / Cemetery Road. On October 25 (left), just a few hours after the flow crossed the road, the lava was only about 3 feet thick. Ten days later, on November 4 (right), the flow was about 12 feet thick. The cinder pile surrounding the power pole provides a sense of scale for the inflation.

HELCO Cancels Hilo Arbor Day Tree Giveaway Due to Unavailability of Plants

Hawaii Electric Light regrets to inform the community that the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, at its office in Hilo has been postponed due to the unavailability of plants.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell's.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell’s.

In West Hawai‘i, the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook will hold a three-day Arbor Day Celebration from Nov. 7-9. A limited number of trees will be distributed across the three days from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. while supplies last.

The company apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

Volcanoes National Park Clarification on Chain of Craters Emergency Access Route

Hi Damon,

It has been brought to our attention that there has been some confusion and concern regarding access to Chain of Craters Kalapan Road.  I would like provide some clarification and help clear up some of the confusion.

The Chain of Craters Kalapana emergency access route will be available for use by Puna residents affected by the lava flow and their invitees and agents, as well as the transportation of goods and services needed to sustain the community including vendors, contractors, and service providers. A free window decal to facilitate access through the park for affected Puna residents is being developed.

The road will remain open to local residents and for uses to sustain the community until another long term viable route is established by the state or county.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the construction and use of the road and mitigation measures developed to protect the park resources. You can access the park’s compliance website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks!

Rainey McKenna, Public Information Officer – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

 

Visitors Not Allowed to Use Chain of Craters Road – Puna Residents to Receive Window Decals

Significant progress has been made on the Chain of Craters Kalapana Road since work began in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on October 24. Today the contractors, working from each end, met in the middle.

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

This completes the rough grade of the road.
ripping 2Work will now begin on crushing excavated material for the road bed. The finished road will be a gravel surfaced 22-foot-wide two-lane road. The road is scheduled to be completed in the next 30-45 days, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Chain of Craters CrewLower Puna residents will be able to access the route after the lava has crossed Highway 130 and Railroad Avenue and the National Park Service has determined that the road is safe for vehicles. The emergency access route will not be open to the public or park visitors.  Residents will receive a free window decal for access through the park.

11/6/14 UPDATE: Volcanoes National Park Clarification on Chain of Craters Emergency Access Route

 

Puna Lava Flow – FEMA Aid “Need and Warranted” Under Disaster Declaration

declaration lava

Click to read declaration

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency protective measures (Category B) taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  Emergency protective measures assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

  • Application procedures for state and local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Public Comment Sought on Environmental Review of Emergency Access Route Along Chain of Craters Road

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is seeking public comment on the environmental review and decision regarding the construction and use of an emergency access route along the lava-covered section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road. The environmental review for the emergency access route (22’ width) was completed in accordance with alternative NEPA arrangements developed by and in consultation with the Department of Interior and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

Mayor Kenoi takes his wife to see Chain of Craters road progress.

Mayor Kenoi takes his wife to see Chain of Craters road progress.

To sustain access in and out of Pahoa, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is working in cooperation with the state of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i County and the Federal Highways Administration to construct an emergency access route between the park and Kalapana along the park’s historic Chain of Craters Kalapana Road. The environmental review considers alternatives to the emergency access route and potential adverse impacts, and includes public involvement, mitigation and monitoring commitments. As part of the alternative arrangements, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue to engage the public by soliciting comments on the project, participating in public informational meetings, responding to comments received, and publishing periodic reports on the results of monitoring commitments. In addition, the NPS will continue to consult with affected agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Division, as necessary.  The NPS will also prepare a NEPA review to consider the future of the emergency access route after the emergency ends.

The use of the emergency access route will only last as long as there is no viable alternative route for the residents of the affected area to use to gain access to the rest of the Island of Hawai‘i.

The public is invited to review the environmental review and decision document and to submit comments via the NPS’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Emergency Access Route along the Lava-Covered Section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road link. The deadline for submitting comments in PEPC is Dec. 5, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Comments will be accepted while construction of the road is in progress (anticipated to be 30 days), and are intended to affect NPS consideration of adjustments to the proposed action and enhancement of proposed mitigation measures. The comment period will be extended if necessary. Responses to substantive comments will be subsequently posted on PEPC. Results of park monitoring of resources and road use will be posted on PEPC and the park’s website, shared at community meetings, or publicized via other means of communication periodically throughout the duration of the emergency.

The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052; or via email nps_havo_planning@nps.gov . The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 5, 2014.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

HELCO Thanks Folks Who Shared Ideas for Protecting Utility Poles

The June 27 lava flow is spurring innovation and promoting collaboration despite its threat to the Puna community and the utility infrastructure that lies in its path.

Hawaii Electric Light would like to thank the many people who shared their ideas for protecting utility infrastructure from the lava’s extreme heat. The design process started in late August and involved numerous drafts. Multiple factors were considered, and the final design was a collaborative effort between Hawaii Electric Light, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The partnership was instrumental in helping the company understand the characteristics of lava and how to best reduce the short and long-term heat impact to the infrastructure. Our partners continue to assist us with post-impact evaluations. The key contributors were:

Hawaii Electric Light

  • Michael Iwahashi, Assistant Superintendent, Construction & Maintenance
  • Construction & Maintenance Division

University of Hawaii at Hilo

  • Dr. Kenneth Hon, Professor of Geology

U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

  • Tim Orr, Geologist
  • Matthew Patrick, Geologist

Among those submitting a pole protection design was Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS) Public Charter School in Pahoa. Although the design was not used, Hawaii Electric Light recognizes their innovation which paralleled the efforts of experienced professionals.

The design was created by high school students in the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program. Their assignment began with a question: “What can you do to help the community?”

“Our STEM class firmly feels necessity is the mother of invention,” said Eric Clause, lead STEM instructor. “When the students designed the power pole barriers, we looked at using materials that were ready and available and would work under the harsh conditions a lava flow would pose. We were really stoked when HELCO released similar design plans.”

PHOTO (L-R): HAAS STEM students Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, Michael Dodge, Logan Treaster, Maya Anderson, and Jordan Drewer. Photo credit: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science PCS

PHOTO (L-R): HAAS STEM students Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, Michael Dodge, Logan Treaster, Maya Anderson, and Jordan Drewer.
Photo credit: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science PCS

The students are Maya Anderson, Michael Dodge, Jordan Drewer, Henry LaPointe, Lyric Peat, Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, and Logan James Treaster. In addition to the pole protection design, the STEM students designed an air purifier that can filter hydrogen sulfide, a heat resistant bridge that is cooled by flowing clean water, and a desalinization system that can provide quality drinking water. Some students also are involved in the Hope for HAAS project using social media to raise funds to help HAAS accommodate displaced students in areas affected by the flow.

“Hawaii Electric Light applauds the students at HAAS for their innovation, creativity, and foresight,” said spokeswoman Rhea Lee. “With a lava flow headed their way, they responded proactively and not only developed a conceptual design to help protect power poles, but searched for other ways to help the community in which they live. These are qualities that we value and look for in our employees.”

New Breakout in Lava Flow to be Monitored Closely

This is an eruption and lava flow Information update for Friday, October 31 at 2:00PM.

distances

The flow continues to remain active however has not advanced since yesterday. The flow front remains 480 feet from Pāhoa Village Road. The front continues to show signs of widening with breakouts along the flanks or margins and is approximately 60 yards wide. A new breakout located upslope from the flow front on the north side is active and advancing in a northeast direction and will be monitored closely.  Additional breakouts above the Apaʻa street area along the north side of the flow are also being monitored closely.

Smoke conditions continue to be light with trade winds from the northeast pushing the smoke in a south southwest direction. Presently burning activity is involving a variety of materials and smoke conditions may increase in some areas. Residents down wind that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors. Additional health advisories may be issued depending upon materials involved with any fires associated with the lava flow.

Minor breakouts of lava ooze from the margin of the June 27th lava flow on the afternoon of Thursday, October 30, 2014. These breakouts are located about 100 meters (110 yards) behind the leading edge of the flow.

Minor breakouts of lava ooze from the margin of the June 27th lava flow on the afternoon of Thursday, October 30, 2014. These breakouts are located about 100 meters (110 yards) behind the leading edge of the flow.

Based on the current flow location, direction and advancement, residents in the flow path were placed on an evacuation advisory and notified of possible need for evacuation.  The evacuation advisory for those residents down slope of the flow will continue and residents will be kept informed of the flow status and advancement.

The Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office Road will remain closed and limited to area residents only. Motorist should use caution and slow down on Highway 130 near the Post Office Road intersection. Residents of the restricted area should not bring unauthorized persons into the restricted area. In addition, Civil Defense and public safety personnel will be operating in the area round the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity. Additional updates will be broadcasted as conditions change.

Pahoa Police Station Remains Open – Secondary Location Being Finalized

The Puna police station in Pāhoa remains open and police have no plans to close it.

The Pahoa Police Station

The Pahoa Police Station

A misleading news report wrongly implied that the Pāhoa station was no longer occupied.

If and when lava blocks access to the Puna station to residents of lower Puna, police will set up a secondary location somewhere on the south side of the lava flow. That location has yet to be finalized.

Police will continue to patrol all occupied areas of the Puna District.