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.

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

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

 

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).

 

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.

9th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival Starts Thursday

Come and enjoy the 9th annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival happening at the Waikoloa Hilton Monarchy Ballroom November 6th-8th.

mokif2014

Experience the lessons of Hula through our workshops with our celebrated Judges or learn about Kinolau and Hula regalia during our free lectures by Hokulani Holt Padilla and Dr. Pualani Kanahele. Before heading to watch our nightly competition make sure to take a memory home from our Made In Hawaii marketplace.

While engaging all of your senses we continue with our mission of enriching the practice and development of Hula and its associated arts.

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.

Governor Abercrombie Appoints 5 Members to Boards and Commissions

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Denise Antolini to the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM), as well as Denise Albano, Lloyd Haraguchi, Margarita Hopkins and Yukio Kitagawa to the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC), effective immediately. All are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval.

Antolini was appointed to an at-large seat on the seven-member CWRM. Haraguchi and Kitagawa were nominated to fill at-large seats on the 11-member ADC Board of Directors, while Alabano and Hopkins were appointed to the City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii County seats, respectively.

“Each appointee is well respected in their fields,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Their knowledge and experience will be invaluable in moving these boards and commissions forward.”

Denise Antolini has served as a faculty member at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa since 1996 and is currently associate dean for academic affairs.

Denise Antolini

Denise Antolini

During her tenure, she has been recognized as the school’s Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2004-2005, awarded the UH Board of Regent Medal of Excellence in Teaching, and while Director of the Environmental Law Program, received the American Bar Association, Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy in 2006. Antolini has served as the principal investigator on several Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) projects and law fellowships. A resident of Pupukea, she has long been active in several North Shore community organizations and efforts, including to establish the mauka and makai conservation easements preserving more than 1,000 acres of land owned by Turtle Bay Resort.

A leader in Hawaii’s efforts to improve the local food system, Denise Albano is the president of Feed the Hunger Foundation, a non-profit that she co-founded to eliminate poverty and hunger internationally and in Hawaii by using microfinance as a platform for food security and economic development.

Denise Albano

Denise Albano

Albano previously served as campaign manager for The Nature Conservancy Hawaii and executive director for Youth UpRising in Oakland and YMCA’s Richmond District in San Francisco, where she served on several boards, including the Mayor’s Office Task Force on Ending the Sexual Exploitation of Youth and Edgewood Center for Families, Youth and Children.

With more than 25 years of land use planning, zoning, development and leasing experience in both the public and private sectors, Lloyd Haraguchi has successfully managed projects from the point of land negotiation and acquisition, to gathering community input, planning, permitting and development. He is the former executive director of the Public Land Development Corporation and served as senior asset manager for Hawaii Land Management, James Campbell Company, LLC from 2003 to 2012. Haraguchi currently serves as a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, an advisory board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, Hale Pono Unit and an advisory member of the Malama Learning Center at Kapolei High School.

Retired as an economic development specialist at the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development, Margarita Hopkins was responsible for preparation and update of the county’s agricultural development plan.

Margarita Hopkins

Margarita Hopkins

Through her position, she established a county-based agriculture program in cooperation with Big Island Resource Conservation & Development Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Hopkins previously served as Hawaii County’s director of research and development and a lecturer at UH Hilo College of Business and Economics. She is currently a member of the Big Island Resource Conservation & Development Council and Hawaii Forest Stewardship Advisory Committee.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Yukio Kitagawa is currently a member of the serves on the Hawaii Agriculture Resource Center Board of Directors and the City & County of Honolulu Agriculture Development Task Force.  He was previously a member of the ADC Board of Directors from 1999 to 2002 and the City & County of Honolulu Planning Commission from 1981 to 1986. Kitagawa was the Board of Agriculture chairperson from 1988 to 1994 and assistant director of cooperative extension service at UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) from 1981 to 1988. Kitagawa is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Commission on Water Resource Management

The Commission on Water Resource Management administers the State Water Code, which was created by the 1987 Hawaii State Legislature. The commission’s general mission is to protect and enhance the water resources of the State of Hawaii through wise and responsible management.

Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Development Corporation

The Agribusiness Development Corporation was established in 1994 to facilitate and provide direction for the transition of Hawaii’s agriculture industry from a dominance of sugar and pineapple to one composed of a diversity of different crops. The mission of the ADC is to acquire, and manage in partnership with farmers, ranchers, and aquaculture groups, selected high-value lands, water systems, and infrastructure for commercial agricultural use and to direct research into areas that will lead to the development of new crops, markets, and lower production costs.

The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statutes or executive orders.

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.

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.

Pahoa Post Office Still Open – Hilo Post Office to Serve as Stopgap

The U.S. Postal Service Honolulu District Emergency Management Team (EMT) has been meeting regularly to monitor the progress of the Puna lava flow and is reviewing contingency plans that will enable the Postal Service to continue to serve affected customers.

postoffice
The District is in close contact with Hawaii County civil defense authorities and managers of potentially affected Hawaii Island Post Offices. Contingency plans are being informed and guided by general civil defense public safety directives and specific concerns over the safety of Postal Service employees.

One of the factors that the EMT is closely monitoring is the impact to air quality of sulfuric dioxide emissions from the lava and smoke from burning forestry. Adjustments will be made to postal operations as needed to ensure that employee safety is not compromised by air quality.

The Pahoa Post Office will remain open for business as long as it can operate without jeopardizing the safety or security of our postal employees, our customers and the mail. If the Pahoa Post Office is evacuated, the Hilo Post Office will likely serve as a stopgap base of operations.

The District is making arrangements to lease an alternate facility near Pahoa that can be operational soon after an evacuation. The Postal Service is committed to continue delivery to its Pahoa customers as long as it is safe to do so.

Contingency plans will likely evolve as the lava flow continues to impact access to Pahoa and the lives of its residents.

Plans must consider employee safety concerns, the availability of resources and the Postal Service’s commitment to customer service.

The bottom line is that, regardless of how this lava flow event plays out, the mail will be delivered. We will find a way to get it done.

Lava Flow Invades Pahoa Town – Pictures

The June 27th lava flow remained active, and the flow front was nearing residential areas in the northwest portion of Pāhoa.

1027flowfront

Click to enlarge

The flow front was heading towards a low spot on the Pāhoa Village Road, between Apaʻa St. and the post office.

This annotated photograph shows the notable features around the flow front. The photo was taken at 11:30 am, and also shows the distance the flow front has traveled between Cemetery Rd./Apaʻa St. and Pāhoa Village Rd.

This annotated photograph shows the notable features around the flow front. The photo was taken at 11:30 am, and also shows the distance the flow front has traveled between Cemetery Rd./Apaʻa St. and Pāhoa Village Rd.

This photo was taken at 11:30 am today, when the flow front was 540 meters (0.3 miles) from Pāhoa Village Road.

A wider view of the flow, showing its proximity to Pāhoa Village Road. Pāhoa Village Road spans the bottom portion of the photograph.

A wider view of the flow, showing its proximity to Pāhoa Village Road. Pāhoa Village Road spans the bottom portion of the photograph.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image. The white box shows the approximate extent of the thermal image. The elevated temperatures (white and yellow areas) around the flow front indicate that significant activity is focused at the front, driving its forward movement.

thermalsnipIn addition, a slow-moving lobe was active upslope of Cemetery Rd. Farther upslope, scattered breakouts persist in the wider portion of the flow.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge