Thursday, October 29, 2009
Above, visitors stand behind Civil Defense barricades and gaze out over an inferno of changing landscape. (click on images for larger size)
A large area directly below & beyond the Civil Defense trailhead booths, to the southwest, came alive again yesterday and into the evening with numerous breakouts of red-orange lava and remnant kipuka forest and vegetation fires. At times large patches for trees burst into huge balls of flame. The surface lava can be seen far out onto the active lava coastal plain, or flow field where the main tubes carry lava to the sea.
A continuing build up new lava close to the trailhead could easily force a closer and relocation of the current trailhead and viewing areas.
Near the end of the official lava viewing hours of operation last night, around 9:30 PM the winds switched direction from a lazy southeasterly to northwesterly; the air instantly smelled and tasted of sulfur dioxide and smoke from the molten lava and many forest fires. This would normally have called for an emergency closure and evacuation of the area but all visitors had just left at that time.
Winds along this section of the Big Island this morning are light and variable under completely overcast, and somewhat voggy, skies.
If you are planning a visit to see the active lava you might want to phone the Hawaii County Civil Defense hotline to check on closers before heading out: 961-8093
Yellow-hot lobes of pahoehoe are putting a new layer of land over other recent additions
Posted by Leigh at 10:34 AM