Rain tamps down smoke from Hawaii lava

AP News
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Posted: Nov 02, 2014 7:50 PM
Rain tamps down smoke from Hawaii lava

Overnight rain has reduced the smoke that's coming from a lava flow that remains stalled after slowly creeping toward a small town on Hawaii's Big Island, a responder said Sunday.

Hawaii County Civil Defense director Darryl Oliveira said the flow remains 480 feet from the main road in and out of Pahoa, a town of about 1,000 people. Oliveira was among responders who flew over the area Sunday morning following rain that fell Saturday and overnight, he said.

The moisture helped tamped down some of the smoke that's been generated by small fires from the lava.

"It was pretty light this morning when we were out there," Oliveira said.

The lava is burning some vegetation on an agricultural property containing trees and grass, but there are no brushfires, according to Oliveira. Some lava has been leaking out along the margins of the flow, but is not advancing toward the road.

"There's still supply or material coming down the mountain from the source," Oliveira said. "At this point, that supply that's reaching the front of the very leading edge is being shared throughout the system and the volume has decreased. It's not allowing it to push forward."

Fifty households in Pahoa remain on alert to potentially evacuate because of possible fires and smoke, Oliveira said.

Lava has been spilling down the flank of Kilauea volcano toward the northeast since June. In late October, lava crossed a country road, then smothered part of a cemetery. It also has toppled trees and burned a shed, tires and grass.

Oliveira said a report that someone falsely posing as a government inspector approached a resident within a blocked-off zone Friday was incorrect. Authorities followed up with the reporting party and determined the incident was unrelated to the volcano and occurred outside the zone, according to Oliveira.

No government official is going door-to-door to conduct damage assessments, he said.