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Lava stalls short of Big Island town’s main road

November 1, 2014 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Lava from Kilauea volcano has stalled just under 500 feet (150 meters) from the main road in Pahoa on the Big Island, officials said Saturday.

Some lava has been breaking out along the sides of the flow, but it’s moving slowly, said Darryl Oliveira, director of Hawaii County civil defense.

“At this point, there’s very little activity taking place that’s posing any increased threat to the residents or the community,” Oliveira said.

Lava has been streaming down the volcano’s flank toward the northeast since June.

Last weekend, it crossed a country road on the edge of Pahoa, a small town of about 1,000 residents. It smothered part of a cemetery, toppled trees and burned a shed, some tires and grass.


Authorities have alerted about 50 households they should be prepared to evacuate.

The lava has since advanced more slowly, but county officials said it’s still active.

Burning from the lava was generating light to moderate amounts of smoke Saturday. Trade winds have been pushing the smoke toward the south and southwest.

Opportunists pose another lava risk, Oliveira said. Someone posing as a government inspector approached a resident living within a blocked-off zone Friday and asked for access to a private property.

No government official is going door-to-door to conduct damage assessments, Oliveira said. He urged residents to ask for identification if they are suspicious and to call police if they see questionable behavior.

Police plan to investigate the fake inspector, Oliveira said.