Lava Map Shows Flow Less then Half Mile From Major Highway

This new map of the Puna lava flow shows just how wide this flow is starting to spread with a lot of new breakouts happening in the last 48 hours.

1222map From HVO:
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists conducted a helicopter overflight of the June 27th lava flow this afternoon and mapped its leading edge. At the time of the flight, the tip of the flow was stalled about 0.7 km (0.4 miles) from the Pahoa Marketplace, measured in a straight line, but lava was active in several places immediately behind the front. One or more of these other active lobes could overtake the stalled front in the coming hours to days, or the stalled front could reactivate. Numerous breakouts were also active along the flow in an area extending from 1 to 3 km (0.6 to 2 miles) upslope from the front of the flow, in the ground crack area near the True/Mid-Pacific well pad, and about 3 km (2 miles) downslope from Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Lava Flow Stalls – New Breakouts Near Geothermal Well Pad

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists conducted a helicopter overflight of the June 27th lava flow this afternoon and mapped its leading edge. At the time of the flight, the tip of the flow was stalled about 0.7 km (0.4 miles) from the Pahoa Marketplace, measured in a straight line, but lava was active in several places immediately behind the front.

A small, but fairly vigorous, breakout was active this afternoon about 1 km (0.6 miles) behind the tip of the flow. (click to enlarge)

A small, but fairly vigorous, breakout was active this afternoon about 1 km (0.6 miles) behind the tip of the flow. (click to enlarge)

One or more of these other active lobes could overtake the stalled front in the coming hours to days, or the stalled front could reactivate. Numerous breakouts were also active along the flow in an area extending from 1 to 3 km (0.6 to 2 miles) upslope from the front of the flow, in the ground crack area near the True/Mid-Pacific well pad, and about 3 km (2 miles) downslope from Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Daily updates about Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, and data about recent earthquakes are posted on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

Highway 130 to be Repaired After Lava Crosses – No Guarantee on Fix

With the lava less then 1 mile from crossing Highway 130 here in Pahoa, Senator Russell Ruderman posted the following on Facebook this morning:

Highway 130 repairs!
Big news regarding the highway and lava. The State DOT is planning to ‘repair’ the highway within a week or two if lava crosses highway. This will involve layers of cinder and a gravel roadbed, and if needed, the truck-bed platform that Bryson Kuwohara has proposed. This is wonderful news, meaning we can expect some normalcy soon after if lava breaches the highway. While there is no guarantee, I have a lot of confidence that the state DOT is taking its responsibility to keep Puna accesible seriously, and that their engineers are looking kindly on this plan.

DLNR Arrests Four Men For Molokai Ocean Incident

Four Molokai men will face arraignment and hearings in Maui Circuit Court later this month after being arrested and charged for their roles in a confrontation between two groups of fishermen in Molokai waters.
DLNR
The investigation was conducted by Maui Police Department with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).   

On November 25, 2014 Albert K. Dudoit, Jr., age 27, Robin W. Dudoit, age 57, Floyd Kumukoa Kapuna, age 31 and Kaiula K. English, age 28 were arrested by Maui Police Department and DOCARE officers, and charged with two counts of robbery in the second degree, unauthorized first degree entry into a motor vessel, terroristic threatening in the first degree, and harassment. All of the men were released after posting $50,000 bail each. The Grand Jury returned indictments on the four men stemming from an incident which occurred in Molokai waters in May 2014 in which the men are accused of illegally boarding a vessel in state waters

The vessel used by the four men was seized as evidence and transported to Maui with the assistance of a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft.  

“We are willing to work with any community that wants to forge a proactive partnership with DLNR to ensure public safety, access, and lawful behavior concerning the natural resources of Hawaii,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “We will not tolerate community involvement in unlawful criminal behavior.”

“DOCARE officers have worked very hard to make this case because when there are people willing to come forward and there is sufficient evidence to show a criminal action is being perpetrated on citizens, we will take action,” said Randy K. Awo, recently retired DOCARE Chief. 

The Department of Land and Natural Resources wishes to thank the Maui Prosecutor’s Office, Maui Police Department and US Coast Guard for their assistance with this case.  

Second Supplementary Proclamation Pertaining to State of Emergency in Puna Issued Today

A second supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued today by Mayor Billy Kenoi. A PDF of the signed proclamation is available here.

Click to read

Click to read

SECOND SUPPLEMENTARY PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on September 4, 2014, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 5, 2014, issued Proclamations declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on October 16, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 22, 2014, and October 17, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation and Second Supplementary Proclamation further declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the United States Geological Survey – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on December 3, 2014, reported that the eruptive phase of the June 27th flow is continuing and show no signs of halting and that new breakouts occurring upslope of Pahoa Village have converged to create a new organized lava front; and

WHEREAS, this new upslope front has been proceeding at a rate of several hundred yards per day and is presently located 2.5 miles from State Highway 130; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM P. KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i,

do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency continues to exist due to the threat of imminent disaster on the Hawai‘i Island, District of Puna, effective December 3, 2014, and that the Proclamation of September 4, 2014, and Supplementary Proclamation of October 16, 2014, shall remain in full force and effect and are hereby included in the provisions of this Second Supplementary Proclamation and shall continue thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 3rd day of December, 2014, in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

WIILIAM P. KENOI
Mayor
County of Hawai‘i

Public, Private Agencies Convene to Discuss Lava, Emergency Housing

More than 45 of Hawaii Island’s top officials in government, business, construction, academia and the non-profit sector gathered last week in Hilo to discuss the Puna lava situation and its effects on the island’s housing market.
Lava Housing

The emergency housing forum, hosted by HOPE Services Hawaii, Hawaii Island Realtors, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and Day Lum Rentals & Management, included roundtable discussions that focused on short- and long-term housing planning, legislative policy and expanding community resources.

The November 24 forum was intended as the beginning of a larger conversation focused on building more affordable housing on Hawaii Island. An action plan that outlines next steps and leverages private and public partnerships is being created by the forum’s hosts and expected to be complete by first quarter 2015. The plan will identify short and long-term solutions, which will help inform possible legislative policies and provide the basis for maximizing community resources.

During the forum, agency heads discussed what organizations are experiencing as a result of the lava breakout, which started in late June and has travelled 13.5 miles since. Some presented ideas to alleviate the demand for housing outside of Puna, noting, however, that today’s quick fixes should complement the island’s long-term housing and development plans.

“No one is pretending to have all the answers,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “There’s no lava flow manual, so many policy decisions are being made with the best information available. What we’re facing as a community is significant, but the challenges are not insurmountable. The County has been and will continue to be all hands on deck, ready to collaborate, and to share information as it becomes available to lessen anxiety and uncertainty.”

Brandee Menino, chief executive officer for HOPE Services Hawaii, said that while HOPE primarily helps homeless and at-risk individuals and families transition off the streets and obtain stable housing, her office has been getting calls from families displaced by Tropical Storm Iselle and potentially isolated by the lava. She noted that even before this year’s natural disasters, the need for rental units had been identified.

“A 2011 Housing Planning Study prepared for the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation revealed that Hawaii County would need 1,753 rental units by 2016 in order to meet the growing demand for housing,” said Menino. “This report was done in 2011, when lava was not a concern, so we must make a concerted effort to prioritize creating more affordable housing opportunities for Hawaii’s families.”

Paul Normann, executive director of the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP), a resource for distressed families, said Puna has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the State. “Because of the disruption caused by Iselle and the active lava flow, NPP has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families seeking assistance. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, July through October, NPP has already served 106 families. To put that in context, over the course of the entire 12 months of the previous fiscal year, NPP served a total of 130 families.

Nancy Cabral of Day-Lum said that some families wanted to get ahead of the lava and moved from the area. But Cabral is concerned with who haven’t. “There are a lot of residents who have not been preparing for what’s coming. It seems they are waiting for government to step in and rescue them, so we really need to take steps to ready the housing market.”

Cabral offered solutions to stave off a potential housing crisis including working with hotels to temporarily rent out rooms, helping families uproot and move homes to vacant lots and lobbying the State to relinquish control to the County of affordable units such as Lanakila Housing, which can move faster to make the units available to those looking to relocate from Puna.

Mark Kimura, an economic geography researcher at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who conducted an informal survey of Puna residents, said almost half reported they had no one to rely on or place to go if they needed to move. 14 percent said they have already left the area or are preparing to leave and 25 percent said they could move-in with family or friends on-island. He said many don’t want to give up their homes because they are still paying a mortgage, have farms, can’t afford to move and have difficulty finding places that are pet-friendly or retrofitted for people with disabilities.

Amanda Donaldson, President of NARPM’s East Hawaii chapter, which is made up of about 20 local residential property managers, said members get nearly a dozen additional calls a day from families looking for housing outside the lava zone. She said NARPM agents are willing to add addendums that allow individuals in the lava impact zone to break their lease once lava hits.

Kehau Costa of Hawaii Island Realtors championed a “one-stop-shop” rentals website where interested renters can view available units on the island, which would speed up house hunting. Costa also suggested a “new landlord resource fair” because of the increasing number of individuals asking how they can convert part of or their entire home into a rental.

Additional ideas that came out of the forum include exploring commuter housing, house sharing, prepping lands for modular housing, fast tracking County building permit processes as well as County take over, repair and rental of foreclosure homes.

Any individuals or organizations interested in taking part in future discussions may contact Brandee Menino at bmenino@hopeserviceshawaii.org or (808) 933-6013.

Lava Flow Advances Another 400 Yards Since Yesterday

This is an eruption and lava flow update for Tuesday December 2nd at 8:45AM.

This morning’s helicopter assessment shows that the new flow front continues to show signs of advancement and widening.   The active flow front is located approximately 2.7 miles upslope of the Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection.

12214

The flow had advanced approximately 400 yards since yesterday.  Current activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel are maintaining close observations of flow activity. Residents down slope will be kept informed of any changes in flow activity, advancement, and status.

Smoke conditions were light this morning in the immediate area with all smoke from burning vegetation being blown in a southeast direction.  Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take precautions and to remain indoors.

The Pahoa Village Road remains open to all traffic and motorists are advised to exercise caution as some utility pole protection material remains in place.  Everyone is asked to please respect the residents of the area who were affected by the lava flow and to not trespass on private property.

Once again we would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.

New Map Puts Pahoa Marketplace in Lava Flow Path

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists conducted an overflight at midday on Monday, mapping and observing the entire length of the June 27th lava flow field.

The breakouts that began about two weeks ago near the area of ground cracks continued to advance downslope over the past week, creating a new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. This lobe is a short distance west of the earlier portion of the June 27th flow that reached Pāhoa. The new lobe advanced about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) over the past week, which is equivalent to about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day). A narrow lava channel was active this morning at the leading tip of the new lobe. The leading tip of this active lobe was 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (the intersection by Pahoa Marketplace).

The breakouts that began about two weeks ago near the area of ground cracks continued to advance downslope over the past week, creating a new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. This lobe is a short distance west of the earlier portion of the June 27th flow that reached Pāhoa. The new lobe advanced about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) over the past week, which is equivalent to about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day). A narrow lava channel was active this morning at the leading tip of the new lobe. The leading tip of this active lobe was 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (the intersection by Pahoa Marketplace).

Since the last overflight on November 24, a narrow finger has broken away from the west edge of the flow field and moved to the north by about 2.8 km (1.7 mi), which is an average advance rate of 400 meters/day (440 yards/day). The finger branches off at a point downslope of the crack system where the older flow makes a bend from the north to the northeast. Along its length, the width of the active finger varies from 30 meters (33 yards) to 180 meters (200 yards). The total length of the flow, between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the front of the new finger, is 18.3 km (11.4 mi) as measured along the flow axis.

A closer look at the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the active lobe. The channel consists of both open sections as well as sections that are crusted over.

A closer look at the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the active lobe. The channel consists of both open sections as well as sections that are crusted over.

The new finger is following a different steepest-descent path than the previously active flow lobe. The new forecast path takes the flow towards the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, in the vicinity of the Pahoa Marketplace. The flow is currently about 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope of the intersection as measured along a straight line. The flow is approaching an area of gentler topography, however, where two steepest-descent paths nearly converge. The ultimate flow path is therefore difficult to forecast while the activity remains upslope of this point.

This map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of the June 27th lava flow. The area of the flow on November 24, 2014, at 12:00 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 1 at 11:30 AM is shown in red. Most surface flow activity is focused into a narrow finger that branches off the west edge of the flow field north of the East Rift Zone crack system. The front of this finger (19.475836, -154.986834 Decimal Degrees) was 4.6 km (2.9 mi) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road at the Pahoa Marketplace. The dotted blue lines show the pertinent steepest-descent paths, calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/), that the flow is projected to follow. Note that about 1 km (0.6 mi) downslope from the tip of the active flow two different steepest-descent paths come very close together. This is a location where the ground becomes very flat, and the flow could end up following either (or both) of these paths. 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 dotted blue line can be used to infer only an approximate flow path.  (Click to Enlarge)

The area of the flow on November 24, 2014, at 12:00 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 1 at 11:30 AM is shown in red.
Most surface flow activity is focused into a narrow finger that branches off the west edge of the flow field north of the East Rift Zone crack system. The front of this finger was 4.6 km (2.9 mi) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road at the Pahoa Marketplace. (Click to Enlarge)

During the overflight, HVO scientists were also able to measure the cross-sectional area of the lava stream within the tube near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Their result of 2.0 square meters (2.4 square yards) is a 25% reduction in area compared to last week. A smaller lava-stream cross section is consistent with less lava flowing through the tube due to the current summit deflation, which has been ongoing since Saturday morning.

Based on the gentler topography that the flow is approaching and the decrease in cross-sectional area of the lava stream within the tube, it is likely that the advance rate of the narrow finger will slow in the coming days.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the narrow channel at the leading tip of the new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. The normal photograph is partially obscured by smoke from vegetation burning, but the thermal image can "see" through the smoke to show the nature of the channel in detail. Some sections of the channel are completely covered by crust (forming a lava tube), while other sections were open with a smoothly flowing surface.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the narrow channel at the leading tip of the new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. The normal photograph is partially obscured by smoke from vegetation burning, but the thermal image can “see” through the smoke to show the nature of the channel in detail. Some sections of the channel are completely covered by crust (forming a lava tube), while other sections were open with a smoothly flowing surface.

In addition to the narrow finger, weak activity is also present in three areas upslope: 1) surface lava was active where the new finger branches off from the existing flow field; 2) minor surface flows were extending the flow margin to the east at the eastern edge of the crack system; and 3) about 3.5 km (2.2 mi) downslope from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, small amounts of surface lava marked the continued activity of the breakout that started near the Kahaualeʻa cone about two weeks ago. Observations of the stalled flow that extends from the crack system into Pāhoa Village indicate that the lava tube is not being reoccupied, and that this lobe of the flow is effectively inactive.

Daily updates about Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, and data about recent earthquakes are posted on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

Coast Guard Continues Search for Missing Boater

The Coast Guard is continuing its search today for a missing boater who placed a mayday call Thursday at 8:03 a.m. saying his vessel was taking on water and in danger of sinking 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona.

HC-130 Hercules

HC-130 Hercules

The Coast Guard has identified the mariner as 67-year-old Ron Ingrahm and is believed to be the sole person aboard the 25-foot sailing vessel Malia which departed Kaunakakai Harbor, Molokai, to Manele Bay, Lanai.

A friend of Ingram called Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center Friday and sited Tuesday as the last time he spoke with him.

Currently searching are an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Ahi is no longer part of the search due to sever weather.

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center received a mayday call over VHF radio channel 16 from a distressed mariner at 8:03 a.m. Thursday. The mariner reported flooding on his boat and provided a GPS position approximately 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona near Alenuihaha Channel before communications were lost.

Current on scene weather conditions are 35-mile per hour winds with eight to 15-foot seas.

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.

Reopening of Pahoa Village Road Begins Tomorrow

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Sunday November 23rd at 8:00AM.

This morning’s assessment shows that the upslope breakouts remain active.  The breakouts are located approximately 3.6 miles upslope of the Apa’a Street area and consist of surface breakouts and breakouts along the edges or margins of the flow pad.  Presently, all breakout activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and the flow activity will continue to be monitored.

Residents in the down slope areas will be kept informed of any changes and 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.   Access to the businesses and commercial areas of the Pahoa town can be made through the Pahoa Village Road at the intersection of Highways 130 and 132 and the Post Office Road.  We apologize for any inconvenience the road closure may be presenting with and remind everyone that the Pahoa town center and businesses are open and accessible.

Pahoa Village Road

The reopening of the Pahoa Village Road will be initiated starting tomorrow Monday November 24th and may take a few days to complete.  Utility crews will begin to remove the protection placed around the utility poles and this work will require the road to remain closed while equipment is operating in the area.

Civil Defense and public safety personnel will continue to maintain close observations of flow activity.

Additional updates will be posted as conditions change.

We would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your  cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.

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.

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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.

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.

Commentary – The Department of Transportation Needs Strong Leadership and Fresh Perspective

I’m a concerned citizen, who closely follows county and state highway projects on the Big Island. I believe its important to monitor these new projects, especially since the State and county are using taxpayer dollars to build these new highways. This is why I’ve spent so much of my free time being a community transportation advocate.

The centralized Oahu Hawaii Department of Transportation leadership, along with the Federal Highways Administration, has treated people like myself as enemies of the state. I’ve had to jump through hoops to get any updates through alternative means over the past four years as a result. These departments really need to embrace the public’s
participation and be more transparent.

Soon-to-be Governor David Ige promised to conduct his administration in a more transparent fashion. However, this is only part of the solution to the issues facing the HDOT. Governor Abercrombie’s HDOT appointees had no leadership and public relation skills. This has to change under Governor Ige’s watch. The HDOT needs strong leadership to push several stalled projects, such as the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening phase 2 and the final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, forward.

I hope Governor Ige fulfills his campaign promises, as Hawaii can’t afford four more years of spinning its wheels.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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

 

Breaking Lava News – Students Who Wish to Stay at Pahoa CAN Through Geographic Exemptions

Pahoa and Keonopoko students living north of the flow have been transferred to Kea’au.

Pahoa High and Intermediate
After speaking with complex superintendent Mary Correa, Senator Russell Ruderman is happy to announce that those students that wish to stay at Pahoa may do so through a geographic exemptions (GE’s).

These exemptions will allow Pahoa High students living north of the lava flow to continue to attend school ion Pahoa – as long as they can secure transportation to and from Pahoa. A special accommodation will allow these students to continue to compete for Pahoa teams.

Applications for a Geographic Exemption can be found at Pahoa High School at the Registrar’s Office (F106).

 

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 Response to Utility Pole on Fire in Lava Flow Path

No power interruptions due to the lava flow have been reported and utility poles along Apa’a Street currently remain in place, Hawaii Electric Light Company reports. However, it does appear that one of the poles is beginning to show the impacts of the lava’s heat.

HELCO Pole

“This morning, our technical experts found the pole that was surrounded by lava had sunk about ten feet and either steam or smoke was coming through the cinder piled around the pole. We suspect the pole is burning slowly at the ground level. We cooled the pole and protective barrier with water and will continue to monitor the condition of the pole. At this time, the pole remains standing and it does not appear to have sunk further,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee. “As a precautionary measure, we took the transmission line out of service while we evaluated the situation and cooled the pole. We put this line back in service this afternoon. However, we were able to keep power on for all customers through an alternative transmission line.”

Hawaii Electric Light is continuing with other contingency plans including:

  • Relocating a portion of its primary distribution line to the opposite side of Pahoa Village Road onto two taller poles installed under a joint pole agreement with Hawaiian Telcom. The taller poles were spaced farther apart than normal and allowed Hawaiian Telcom to raise their cables higher on the pole. Hawaii Electric Light was then able to cut the tops of the poles located on the opposite side of the road to reduce the height of the poles in the event lava causes them to fall, thereby minimizing the chance the poles would cause damage to the pole line across the street. The shorter poles contain a distribution line serving customers in the immediate area. Hawaii Electric Light will keep the power on for customers in this section of Pahoa Village Road for as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Crews are extending the distribution line on Government Beach Road between Hawaiian Paradise Park and Hawaiian Beaches to provide power to Hawaiian Beaches should existing lines located closer to Highway 130 become inoperable.
  • Hawaii Electric Light has relocated a large diesel generator to Puna and will be moving a second large diesel generator to the same location. These units will be able to provide power for the lower portion of Puna if this section is cut off from the rest of the island grid.

Lava Flow Enters Pahoa

June 27th flow enters Pāhoa

The June 27th lava flow burns vegetation as it approaches a property boundary above Pāhoa early on the morning of Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Lava pushed through a fence marking a property boundary above Pāhoa early on Tuesday morning.

By dawn on Tuesday morning, lava had crossed into two privately owned properties above Pāhoa. Note the inflated flow behind the fence, which is chest-high. We are grateful to the owners of the property for allowing us access and permission to work on their land and post these photos.