Puna Man in Custody on $1 Million Bail for Meth Trafficking & Other Offenses

A 31-year-old Puna man is in police custody on $1 million bail for meth trafficking and other drug and weapons charges.

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias of Mountain View was one of three men arrested Friday afternoon (February 20) during the execution of a search warrant at a home on the 200 block of Alaloa Road in the Waiākea Ūka area of Hilo.

Police recovered 7.75 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with the distribution of “ice,” an unregistered handgun, two unregistered rifles and $5,700 in cash.

Two other men, 32-year-old Christopher Manukai Mae of Hilo, and 35-year-old Waylon Thomas of Hilo, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug offenses. All three were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continued the investigation. In addition, Mae was charged with contempt of court for an unrelated bench warrant.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Frias with first-degree meth trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and three weapons offenses. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thomas was released Saturday pending further investigation. Mae was released Sunday after posting $1,500 bail for the contempt charge. Detectives continue to investigate drug offenses in connection with Thomas and Mae.

Puna Lava Flow Reaches Fire Break

Breakouts persist upslope of stalled flow front; new breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

22315pic1The leading tip of the June 27th lava flow remains stalled, but breakouts persist upslope of the stalled tip. Today, one of these breakouts (marked by the arrow) had advanced a short distance towards the north, reaching one of the fire break roads.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip.

22315pic2

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present roughly 450 m (490 yards) behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

New breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō 22315pic3

This photograph looks east, and shows the breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began over the weekend. The breakout, visible as the lighter colored region in the center of the photograph, occurred from the area of the June 27th vent (upper right portion of photograph).

22315pic4A small lobe of pāhoehoe on the new breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.22315pic5A closer look at some of the activity on the new breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Hawaiian Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light has completed repairs to all major damage caused by a storm system that passed over the islands last Friday and Saturday. Late yesterday evening, crews restored power to the remaining 40 customers in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area.

“We would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we worked to safely restore electric service as quickly as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson.

HELCO Workers

“Partnerships are critical for restoring essential services after a storm,” Okinaka said. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our employees, partners at the County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Department of Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department, other utilities, and contracted tree trimming and construction crews for their tremendous support and dedication to restore electric service to our community.”

Hawaii Electric Light advises the community to be cautious of trees that could be weakened by the high winds. Weakened trees or their branches can fall after a storm has passed, and this could cause new power interruptions.

Please call 969-6666 to report an outage, downed power line, or damaged utility equipment.

Satellite Image Captures Puna Lava Flow

This satellite image was captured on Saturday, February 14, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite.
21515satelliteThe image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 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. The yellow outline is the flow margin as mapped on Tuesday, February 10.

The image above shows a close-up of the June 27th lava flow in the area of Kaohe Homesteads and Pāhoa. Although the leading tip of the flow has been stalled for several weeks, active breakouts have persisted a short distance upslope of this stalled tip. The image shows active breakouts (red pixels) roughly 400 meters (440 yards) upslope of the stalled tip, with additional breakouts scattered 2-3 km (1.2-1.9 miles) upslope. Also, several small breakouts are active in the area west of Kaohe Homesteads.

Hawaiian Electric Power Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of recent high winds.

Shaka For HELCOToday, crews restored power to 1,100 customers in portions of Kapoho, Vacationland, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Waimea, and North Kohala.

As of 4:00 p.m., an estimated 2,900 customers were without power in portions of Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Lanipuna, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Tangerine Acres, Leilani Estates, Fern Forest, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Eden Roc, Wood Valley, South Point, and Ahualoa.

Due to extensive damage, customers in Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna are advised to prepare for the possibility of extended outages through this week.

The process for restoring service involves many steps to ensure the safety of the crews and community:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers and power lines – that need repair or replacement.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles.
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there still may be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

“We want to assure customers that our employees are committed to restoring power as safely as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokeswoman. “Work is being done to restore power to every community even if crews are not working in your neighborhood. In many cases, crews must complete additional work on the electric system in other locations first.”

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Customers who have not yet reported their power outage are asked to call 969-6666. Due to the high call volume, customers may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative. The company sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks customers for their patience and understanding.

DLNR Arrests Guide For Illegal Lava Tour Trespass On State Land

State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers last night arrested a tour guide involved in conducting illegal commercial tours within the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve.  The Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve has been closed by DLNR due to hazardous conditions related to ongoing volcanic activity in the area.  

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahui Tour Company.

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahiu Tour Company.

An investigation conducted by DOCARE officers resulted in their arrest of Joel D. Scharer, Jr., age 24, of Hilo.  The investigation revealed that Scharer was a tour guide who had led a tour into the closed natural area reserve.  Scharer was transported to the Hilo Police Station for booking.  He is being charged with the following:  criminal trespass in the 2nd degree which is a petty misdemeanor, and reckless endangering in the 2nd degree, prohibited entry into a Natural area reserve and illegal commercial activities within the natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses.  

“The safety of the public remains our top priority,” said Carty S. Chang, Interim DLNR Chairperson.   “Illegal commercial tours into areas closed by volcanic activity are dangerous to both the public as well as rescue responders. Violators will face citation or arrest,” Chang added.  

To report suspected trespass or illegal commercial activity within the closed Kahaualea NAR as well as the closed Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve call DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at 643-DLNR.

Pahoa Lava Flow Community Meetings Suspended Until Further Notice

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira announced the regularly scheduled Pahoa lava flow community update meetings are being suspended until further notice.

Pahoa Community Meeting on the Puna Park

“We appreciate the excellent turnout and response from the community at each of these meetings, which the county first began holding last August,” said Chief Oliveira. “We expect we will need to call additional meetings in the weeks and months ahead, but right now we want to give the community and our volunteers a break during this period while the active lava flows are some distance from populated communities.”

Chief Oliveira thanked residents for their understanding and cooperation, and said the county will resume the community meetings when additional briefings are necessary to keep the public informed.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

Puna Representative San Buenaventura Announces 2015 Package of Bills

First-term Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura has introduced a slate of Puna related bills, in the aftermath of last summer’s Hurricane Iselle and in response to the ongoing lava flow from the Pu’u O’o vent.

Joy San Buenaventura“The residents of Puna face distinct issues that require us to take special action,” says San Buenaventura.  “By working together we can take on these problems and build a better and more vibrant community.  That’s why I’ve introduced these measures addressing a broad range of issues that Puna faces collectively and individually and will continue to face in the aftermath of this current flow activity.”

The following bills relate to the Puu Oo lava flow:

  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.
  • HB1106 CIP; 4th Representative District.  Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates moneys for capital improvement projects in the 4th representative district.
  • HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.
  • HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.
  • HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.
  • HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
  • HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.
  • HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.
  • HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

 The following bills relate to Puna and the Big Island in general:

  • HB1107 Bookmobile; Big Island; Educational Materials; Department of Education; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that shall serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii.
  • HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities. Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.
  • HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.
  • HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.
  • HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.
  • HB1134 Judiciary; Third Circuit; Ho‘okele; Appropriations.  Appropriates moneys for equipment, supplies, and salaries for Ho‘okele legal self-help service centers in Hilo and Kona.
  • HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

 The following bills relate to overall state issues:

  • HB87 Process Server; Criminal Trespass.  Shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties.
  • HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.
  • HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.
  • HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.
  • HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.
  • HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.
  • HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.
  • HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax
  • HB834 Check Cashing; Deferred Deposits.  Requires the written agreement for the deferred deposit of checks to also state that all cumulative fees charged for deferred deposit transactions shall not exceed an annual percentage rate of 39%.
  • HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.
  • HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.
  • HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

 The public is also invited to a community meeting later this month at the Pahoa Community Center on Feb. 27, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The community is welcomed to stop by to voice their concerns and to receive a legislative update from Rep. San Buenaventura.

Anyone wishing to receive information and updates via email can join Rep. San Buenaventura’s email list by sending a request to sanbuenaventura1@Capitol.hawaii.gov.

Two 3.3 Magnitude Earthquakes Rattle Volcano Area of Big Island

Two earthquakes registering 3.3 magnitude (UPDATE: one of them has been updated to a 3.4 magnitude quake) on the Richter Scale were registered in the Volcano area of the Big Island this evening.

33 x 2 VolcanoHere is a close up of where they were located:
33 x 3

Here are the links to the latest earthquake reports:

Men Get Lost Trying to View Lava – Fire Department Helicopter Saves the Day

Two male newcomers to the Big Island got lost in a heavily forested area of the Big Island in what appears to be an attempt to see the lava flow.

Hawaii Fire Department reports that the party was lost on their way coming out of the “pristine rainforest” Thursday, January 29, 2015.  On the way out of the forest they couldn’t find the trail they came in and called a friend on their cell phones to report that they were lost.

They stayed overnight in the forest and Hawaii County Fire Department’s Chopper One assisted in rescuing them this morning.

Here is the Fire Departments incident report:

Stupid Lava Hikers

New USGS Pictures Shows Puna Lava Flow Still Active

The leading tip of the June 27th flow has not advanced significantly over the past week, and remains roughly 500 meters (550 yards) upslope of Highway 130, west of the fire and police station.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Breakouts persist upslope, however, and these areas of activity can be spotted in this photograph by small smoke plumes where the lava is burning vegetation on the flow margins.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present just a short distance behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway. Click to enlarge

A small breakout from the lava tube is burning forest just left of the center of the photograph. In the upper left, thick fume is emitted from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Near the top of the photograph, the snow-covered peak of Mauna Loa can be seen.

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Click to enlarge

Pāhoa Pool Nighttime Swim Program Temporarily Suspended

The new nighttime swim program at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center is being temporally suspended so the pool may be upgraded to better meet patrons’ needs.

Pahoa Pool

Until further notice, Monday, January 26, will mark the last of the nighttime open-swim sessions offered at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center. Lighting and other safety enhancements are needed before the pilot program will be reinstated.

In response to swimmers’ requests for longer operating hours, the Department of Parks and Recreation earlier this month started keeping the pool open until 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

Normal operating hours of 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. closure on weekends) will resume at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center starting Tuesday, January 27.

Information regarding County of Hawai‘i swimming pools is available at www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Going With the Flow: Documenting Kilauea’s Latest Movements

On February 16, 2015 at the Lyman Museum in Hilo, two noted geologists and volcanologists, Dr. Ken Hon and Dr. Cheryl Gansecki of UH-Hilo, will present a special program on the June 27th lava flow.

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Ken and Cheryl have been studying and filming the eruption and flow activity since the summer of 2014, and their presentation tonight brings together the science and the visual beauty of the ongoing event.  Don’t miss their latest footage and findings!

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Puna Lava Flow Approaches Highway 130, Police and Fire Stations

The June 27th flow remains active near its leading tip, with breakouts scattered in the distal portion of the flow.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The leading tip has not advanced significantly over the past few days, and remains about 600 meters (0.4 miles) from Highway 130.

This photograph looks north, and shows the position of the leading tip of the flow relative to Highway 130.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The brown swaths cut through the forest are fire breaks, and the large brown area at the left side of the image is a recent burn scar.

A view looking upslope at the leading tip of the flow.   Click to enlarge

A view looking upslope at the leading tip of the flow. Click to enlarge

Civil Defense Brush Fire and High Surf/Beach Closure Warning

This is a brush fire information update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:00 PM.

Brush fire 12115

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that two brush fires have started as a result of the lava flow in the Pahoa area.  The fires are located to the west or mauka of Highway 130 and to the south or Pahoa side of the Ainaloa Subdivision.

Brushfire 12115

All fire activity is contained within the fire breaks and there is currently no threat to any communities or properties.  Fire department personnel and units are on scene and working to maintain control and containment of the fire.

This is a High Surf Warning and Beach Closure Information Update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:15PM.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island effective through 6:00 PM tomorrow, Thursday January 22nd.  Dangerous surf is expected to start building today through this afternoon and remain at warning levels through Thursday.   Surf heights of 15 to 20 feet are forecasted for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island.  Residents along the coast and in low lying areas are advised to take precautions and boat owners are advised to secure their vessels.  Beachgoers swimmers and surfers are advised to exercise caution and to heed all advice given by Ocean Safety Officials.  Due to the current rising and anticipated dangerous surf conditions the following beaches will be closed effective 12:00noon today:

  • Laaloa or Magic Sands in Kona
  • Kahaluu Beach in Kona
  • Kohanaiki Beach in Kona
  • Ooma
  • Old Airport Park
  • Hapuna Beach
  • Kaunaoa (Mauna Kea Beach)
  • Mahukona Park

County Fines Hawaii Property Owner for Having Illegal Rave Party

Community Policing Officers are working with the Hawaiʻi County Planning Department to protect the public from illegal “rave” parties.

HPDBadgeAs a result of this partnership, the Planning Department issued a $5,000 fine to a property owner in connection with a “rave” party in Hawaiian Acres last year.

The two-day event held October 31 through November 1 was advertised on social media outlets. Community Policing Officers from the Puna District were made aware of the event and warned the property owner that he did not have the proper permit to conduct such an event on his property.

The party was held despite police warnings, and enforcement action was taken near the property on the night of the event to ensure public safety. Police conducted a follow-up investigation with the assistance of the Planning Department that resulted in the fine.

Police are reminding property owners that conducting an unpermitted non-agricultural commercial event on agricultural property is prohibited. The Hawaiʻi Police Department will continue to work with members of the public, property owners and the Planning Department to ensure compliance and enhance public safety.

Pahoa Community Aquatic Center to Open for Nighttime Swim Sessions

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will keep the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center open until 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate nighttime swim sessions.

Pahoa Pool

Swimmers of all ages are invited to the free open-swim sessions that start Wednesday, January 21. Children younger than 11 years old must be accompanied and supervised by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

Nighttime swim sessions at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center are being offered on a trial basis to gauge patron interest and to meet the needs of swimmers who requested extended operating hours.

Information regarding County of Hawai‘i swimming pools is available at www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Next Community Lava Flow Meeting Scheduled

The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pāhoa High School Cafeteria.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

12015mapoverview

This large-scale map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow. The area of the flow on January 13 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as determined from satellite imagery on January 17 is shown in red. The most distal portion of the flow on January 17 was approximately 700 meters (0.4 miles) from Highway 130. Overall the activity is sluggish and comprised of scattered breakouts and oozing pāhoehoe toes.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths.

Puna Lava Flow Causes Runaway Brush Fires – Evacuation Not Required Yet

This is a brush fire information update for Thursday January 15th at 3:30PM.

11515pic12

The Hawaii Fire Department reports two runaway brushfires in the area of the lava flow in Pahoa.  Both fires started from the active lava flow and are currently burning in a north/northeast direction.  The fires are located to the west or above highway 130 and approximately .6 to .9 miles from the Ainaloa subdivision.

The fires have not yet burned to the fire break adjacent to the Ainaloa subdivision and currently no homes or properties are threatened.  No evacuation is required at this time.

Fire department personnel and equipment are on scene along with helicopters and a bull dozer working to contain and extinguish the fires.

Additional updates will be broadcast as conditions change.

This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense

Lava Flow Crosses Fire Break – Brush Fire Reignited

The lava flow has gone over the fire break line that was designed to hopefully contain the fires that were happening from the Puna Lava Flow and a brush fire has reignited in the Hawaiian Home Lands area of Puna.

Brush fire 115

Brush fire at 12:50 this afternoon

Another fire break line is currently being made to hopefully protect residents and businesses in the affected area of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Pu'u O'o erupting on the left... Brush fire down the slope on the right.

Pu’u O’o erupting on the left… Brush fire down the slope on the right.

Civil Defense is waiting for an update from Hawaii County Fire Department to make an assessment on their plan of actions.

A shelter will be set up at the Pahoa Community Center if an evacuation is ordered.  In the mean time… here is the Civil Defense Message that was published before the brush fire broke out.

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Thursday January 15th at 11:30 AM.

Today’s helicopter over flight and assessment will be delayed however preliminary ground assessments show that the original flow front and south margin breakout remain stalled. A breakout along the north side of the flow is active and has advanced down slope to an area near the stalled front. This current active down slope breakout has advanced approximately 200 yards per day over the past two days and is located 0.6 miles from the area of Highway 130 to the west or mauka of the Pahoa Police and Fire Stations. Two breakouts along the north margin approximately 1-1.5 miles further upslope or behind the flow front remain active and a more thorough assessment will be performed later today. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are maintaining close observations of the flow. All current activity does not pose a threat to area communities and residents and businesses down slope will be informed of any changes in flow activity and advancement.

With the ongoing dry weather conditions, brush fire activity related to the lava flow is likely. Hawaii Fire Department personnel and equipment are on scene and monitoring the fire conditions. There is currently no fire threat to area residents and properties.

Smoke and vog conditions were heavy with a southwest wind blowing the smoke in a northeast direction over the areas of lower Puna through Hilo. Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and individuals who may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.

Additional updates will be broadcast as conditions change.

On behalf of the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and our partners we would like to thank everyone for your assistance and cooperation.