Photos: Lava is too close for comfort for Kaohe, as it advances towards Pahoa

Photographer G. Brad Lewis captured these telling aerial photographs of the progress of the June 27th lava flow yesterday afternoon.  Currently, the flow is advancing at a rate of approximately 700 feet per day. Yesterday, it breached the boundary of Kaohe Homesteads, a subdivision between the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve and Puna, for the first time.

Luckily, the lava has remained in the vacant northwest portion of the subdivision, and the Hawaii Civil Defense has not had to call for an evacuation.  The biggest concern right now is the smoke. Conditions vary with the wind, but residents have been advised to limit outdoor activities, use air conditioners on the recycle setting if possible, and seek medical attention and leave the area if discomfort increases.

Right now, the lava is on track to reach Apa`a Road in 15 days and Pāhoa Village Road (the government road) in Pāhoa within 20 days.  The county is scrambling to clear two alternate routes, one at Railroad Road and another at the Government Beach Road, so that residents do not become “lava locked” should the flow cut off existing roadways.

Lava near Pahoa
Lava from the June 27th flow has crept over the boundary of the Kaohe Homestead subdivision. Luckily, it has remained in the forested portion to the north of the homes.
Lava in the forest
Lava flows on the surface in the vacant, northwest portion of Kaohe Homesteads, near Puna.
Steam near Kaohe
Steam signaling lava activity looms in the distance. Yesterday, it crossed out of the forest reserve, but so far has stayed far enough away from the population of Kaohe that it is deemed not to be a threat by the Hawaii Civil Defense.
Lava burning wood
Several days ago, lava resurfaced from of the crack that had moved it underground through the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, causing the formation of a lava pad and destruction to the native forest.

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