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LavaTalk: November 20, 2014 update on Kilauea’s lava flow


Kilauea June 27th Lava Flow update meeting in Pahoa, Thursday, November 20, 2014.


Hawaii County Civil Defense Eruption Update for 8:30 a.m. November 20, 2014

This morning’s assessment continues to show very little activity along the down slope breakouts and no advancement has been noted since Saturday. Although no activity was observed downslope of the crack system, numerous surface breakouts and flows continue in the areas from the vent to the crack system indicating lava remains in the system. The nearest surface flow activity and surface breakouts are approximately 4 miles upslope of Apa‘a Street in the area of the former geothermal well pad site.

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. Access to the businesses and commercial areas of the Pahoa town can be made through the Pahoa Village Road at the intersection of Highways 130 and 132 and the Post Office Road. We apologize for any inconvenience the road closure may be presenting with and remind everyone that the Pahoa town center and businesses are open and accessible. Every consideration is being given to the reopening of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.

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 broadcast as conditions change.

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., November 18, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., November 18, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., November 18, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., November 18, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense

Lava Flow: Community Meeting Thursday (Nov 20), Information Center Open
Hawaii 24/7 will be broadcasting this meeting live at www.hawaii247.com/live/

The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pāhoa High School Cafeteria.

In addition, the County of Hawai‘i has established an Incident Command Center and Informational Resource Center at the Pāhoa Community Center. Residents are invited to the information center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for answers to their questions.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-al…. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.​


View Hawaii County Lava Flow Information Centers in a larger map

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Sure Foundation Church in Puna, at Orchidland Estates (16-1592 Pohaku Circle, Keeau, HI 96749), for residents evacuated from their homes due to the lava flow in Pahoa.

Smoke from burning vegetation marks the edges of small breakouts from the June 27th lava-tube system north of the abandoned geothermal well site (middle left). This was the lowermost breakout as of this morning, located approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) straight line distance from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Smoke and steam from breakouts upslope are also visible in the distance. Note yellow-colored helicopter for scale (middle right). Photograph courtesy of Volcano Helicopters, taken before 11 am November 19, 2014.

Smoke from burning vegetation marks the edges of small breakouts from the June 27th lava-tube system north of the abandoned geothermal well site (middle left). This was the lowermost breakout as of this morning, located approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) straight line distance from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Smoke and steam from breakouts upslope are also visible in the distance. Note yellow-colored helicopter for scale (middle right). Photograph courtesy of Volcano Helicopters, taken before 11 am November 19, 2014.

USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Kilauea Status Update for 9:06 a.m. Thursday, November 20, 2014

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and within its East Rift Zone. The downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow below the crack system, near Kaohe Homesteads and Pāhoa, was not active this morning, but breakouts were active in the upslope portion of the flow from within the crack system to near the base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Kīlauea’s summit showed an increase in the rate of deflation starting yesterday afternoon, and the level of the summit lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater lowered slightly.

June 27th Lava Flow Observations HVO scientists were not able to conduct an overflight yesterday because of poor weather conditions, but Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense overflights yesterday afternoon and this morning found continued surface flow activity within the crack system. The lower-most of these breakouts was located north of the abandoned geothermal well site about 12 km (7.5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Other breakouts were also active farther upslope, closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, based on webcam views overnight. No breakouts were observed below the crack system. Geologists are planning to investigate the lower part of the crack system on foot later today, weather permitting.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: No significant changes were noted near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Seismic tremor continued with relatively steady amplitude, and webcams revealed no strong variations in the pattern of glow from degassing vents nor the configuration of the crater floor. The tiltmeter at Puʻu ʻŌʻō fluctuated only slightly in the past 24 hours. The GPS-measured length across the cone has not changed significantly since July. The most recent measurement of sulfur dioxide emissions from the East Rift Zone was about 250 tonnes per day on November 18, 2014.

Summit Observations: The slight rate of deflationary tilt of the past 3 days increased yesterday afternoon. The surface height of the lava lake in the Overlook vent lowered slightly. Volcanic tremor persisted at fluctuating amplitudes based on spattering activity in the lake. Small amounts of particulate material were carried aloft by the plume. Summit emissions of sulfur dioxide were measured at 4,400 tonnes/day on November 18 (see caveat below).

Sulfur Dioxide Emission Rate estimation caveat: Starting in 2014, we report the emission rate estimated by a new, more accurate method. The numbers increase by a factor of 2-4 but the actual emission rate has not changed. For more on this reporting change, please read hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/v…

Pahoa Public & School Library Remains Open; Offers 24/7 Wi-Fi Access

While the Kilauea lava flow advances, the Pahoa Public & School Library will remain open as long as conditions remain safe, announced State Librarian Richard Burns.

The Library, located on the campus of Pahoa High and Intermediate School, provides materials, reference services, programs, public computers and free wireless Internet access to the Pahoa community as well as the public, charter, and private schools in the area.

During this critical time, the Library will offer free after hours Wi-Fi service that will be accessible 24/7 as far as the signal extends beyond the perimeter of the building.  In addition, Mountain View Public and School Library and Keaau Public and School Library will also offer this free Wi-Fi access for area residents.

Wi-Fi users are advised to connect to the “HSPLS-Lava” network.

As the lava flow crosses through the town, the Library may temporarily close due to poor air quality conditions, but it is expected to reopen once conditions are safe.

“In an effort to provide access to the resources our Puna neighbors need, we are extending the hours of our free Wi-Fi service so that they can access the Internet for information, communication, recovery resources and other necessities” said Burns.

The Pahoa Public & School Library is located at 15-3070 Pahoa-Kalapana Road. Public service hours are: Monday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.TuesdayWednesdayThursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Saturdayand Sunday closed.  Visit the Library or our HSPLS website: www.librarieshawaii.org for more information.

USPS Puna Lava Flow Contingency Plans (Oct. 28, 2014)

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.

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.

DISRUPTIONS FOR DEPARTMENT OF WATER SUPPLY CUSTOMERS ON PAHOA VILLAGE ROAD

Customers in the Affected Area may experience intermittent water shut-off this afternoon, October 28, 2014, due to valve installation work in the area.

Upon resumption of water service, the waterlines will be flushed and cleaned during which time you may notice turbid and/or discolored water.

You may also notice trapped air in your plumbing which will be released as you initially use water.

Affected customers are asked to take any and all precautions necessary to protect the customers’ property and facilities including, but not limited to, disabling electrical power to pumps and/or any other devices whose normal operation may be dependent on water pressure and/or water supply, and which might be harmed if automatically energized during the water shut-off.

If you have any questions, call Carl Nishimura at 961-8790.

CHANGE IN WATER PRESSURE DUE TO LAVA FLOW

AFFECTED AREA: CUSTOMERS NORTH OF THE LAVA FLOW ALONG PAHOA VILLAGE ROAD INCLUDING APAA STREET AS WELL AS ALONG HIGHWAY 130 FROM KEONEPOKO STANDPIPE/SPIGOT STATION UP TO AND INCLUDING THE UPPER PORTION OF KAHAKAI BOULEVARD; PAHOA, HAWAII

Should the flow reach Pāhoa Village Road, the Department of Water Supply will be shutting valves on each side of the lava flow. This will result in a drop in pressure for some customers. The change will occur imminently. The water system pressure will be decreased by approximately 50 pounds per square inch (psi).

Should you have any questions, call (808) 961-8050.


View Alternate Routes In/Out of Lower Puna in a larger map
Potential evacuation routes/alternative roads.


Information Graphics by Dr. Mark Kimura, UH-Hilo

Hardended HELCO utility poles in Pahoa Town. Photo by Peter Sur, County of Hawaii

Hardended HELCO utility poles in Pahoa Town. Photo by Peter Sur, County of Hawaii

Hawaii Electric Light Preparing for Potential Impacts from Lava Flow

Hawaii Electric Light is closely monitoring the progress of the Kilauea lava flow. There is no immediate threat to its facilities or power lines.

The company continues to work with Hawaii County Civil Defense and other agencies to monitor and evaluate the flow and is prepared to respond.

Because of the unpredictable nature of the flow, Hawaii Electric Light has developed several plans to keep the power on and will put into action the plan that best fits the situation.

The safety of employees and community is always the top priority.

“Our plans are based on key objectives that include keeping employees and the community safe and keeping the power on for our customers as long as is safely possible,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee. “In developing our plans, we consulted with volcanologists, Hawaii County Civil Defense and other County agencies, leaders in the Hawaiian community, and other partners.”

Plans include, but are not limited to:

  • Protecting power poles from the heat generated by the lava by partially encasing select wooden poles with heat resistant and dispersive material
  • Increasing the distance between select power poles to span the lava flow
  • Extending our distribution lines on Government Beach Road and other areas as an alternate means to provide power to Puna subdivisions should the normal power distribution lines become inoperable
  • Relocating generators to the Puna District to provide an alternate source of generation should the flow isolate the area from the island-wide power grid

Crews have started work on Government Beach Road. In addition, pole protection prototypes were built in the Puna area.

“There is a lot of focus on protecting poles as a means to retain the current transmission and distribution system,” Lee said. “The designs developed are experimental, but we are hopeful that they will be successful and can be used on select wooden poles as the lava progresses.”

In addition, Hawaii Electric Light is exploring the possibility of operating a micro-grid in the event the lava flow isolates lower Puna from the power system.

“A micro-grid is disconnected from the utility grid and generates power for a specific area,” Lee said. “This option may allow us to continue to provide power to the lower Puna community until we are able to rebuild transmissions lines that are damaged by lava and interconnect these lines to the grid.”

However, outages may occur despite efforts to keep the power on for as long as possible. As the flow gets closer to our facilities, we will provide more specific information as to how customers could be impacted.

For customers who
evacuate, the company recommends:

  • Shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch
  • Unplug or turn off electric equipment and appliances
  • Call Customer Service at 969-6999 to request
    a service disconnect or transfer

Hawaii Electric Light’s free “Handbook for Emergency Preparedness” provides detailed information on preparing for emergency situations. The handbook is available in English, Cantonese, Ilocano, Korean, and Vietnamese and can be found at the company’s business offices, on its website www.hawaiielectriclight.com, or by calling 969-0137.

LAVA DANGER FORCES STATE LAND CLOSURE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

Due to the recent lava flow activity adjacent to the Kaohe Homesteads area in the Puna district, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed all state unencumbered lands in the immediate vicinity.

These include the parcels designated by Tax Map Key numbers: (3) 1-5-01:21, 26 and (3) 1-5-08:01. Signs have been posted at various access points warning the public of the hazardous conditions.

DLNR has been receiving reports of tour groups and individuals wandering onto state lands to get a better look at the lava. Although the lava flow has temporarily stopped, there are outbreaks still entering onto state lands.

To ensure safety, DLNR is closing this area to all but essential personnel.

DLNR has also closed Wao Kele O Puna forest reserve, and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve. Both areas are off-limits to all persons.

Entry into closed lands is a violation of Hawaii Administrative Rule Sec. 13-221-4 and Hawaii Revised Statute 171-6, and is subject of penalty up to $5,000 for the first offense. The Governor’s proclamation enhances the penalties for any offense committed during this emergency.

“DLNR intends to prosecute any trespassers who willfully violate the closures and place enforcement officers and emergency personnel at increased risk,” said William J. Aila,Jr., DLNR chairperson.

Emergency Preparations Trigger Closure of Pahoa Senior Center

The county Department of Parks and Recreation has closed its Pahoa Senior Center so the facility may be used as an emergency fire station servicing the lower Puna community threatened with lava inundation.

Until the lava threat from Kilauea Volcano ends, the Hawaii County Nutrition Program and the Senior Club will operate from the Nanawale Community Center.

Normal programming and scheduling will be offered, however, the Nanawale Community Center will be closed Oct. 20-31 so it may be used as a polling place for the General Election. Affected seniors will be notified of a temporary relocation during the voting period.

Coordinated Services for the Elderly (CSE) and Elderly Recreation Services (ERS) have been relocated to the Keaau Senior Center. For more details regarding the Department of Parks and Recreation’s elderly services, please call CSE at 961-8777 or ERS at 966- 5801.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the closure of the Pahoa Senior Center and thanks the public for its patience and understanding during this time of emergency.

AT&T PREPARED TO KEEP CUSTOMERS CONNECTED DURING LAVA FLOW

AT&T is committed to providing its customers with reliable communications before, during and after weather events and natural disasters – and has one of the industry’s largest and most advanced disaster response programs to keep its networks operational.

“Staying connected during natural disasters like the Puna lava flow is critically important to consumers, businesses and our emergency management officials,” said Jeffrey Yamane, AT&T Director of Network Engineering, Hawaii. “That’s why AT&T invests a tremendous amount of resources in our network reliability and disaster response capabilities.”

Local AT&T network maintenance teams have developed contingency plans that will allow us to rapidly respond and restore service if any of our network infrastructure is damaged or destroyed by the Puna lava flow. Our response may include the deployment of COWs (Cell on Wheels) and portable generators.

  • AT&T standard pre-disaster network preparations typically include:
  • Testing the high-capacity backup batteries located at cell sites.
  • Preparing COWs (Cell on Wheels) for deployment.
  • Staging extended battery life and portable generators and maintaining existing fixed generators.
  • Topping off generators with fuel at cell sites and central and field-level switching facilities.
  • Staging generators in safe locations for their immediate deployment once the natural disaster has passed.

AT&T is the first private sector company to receive certification under the Department of Homeland Security’s Private Sector Preparedness, or PS-Prep, program. PS-Prep certification validates that AT&T is able to maintain or recover its own business operations in the face of an emergency or disaster, whether natural, man-made, or cyber in nature.

With $600 million invested in the Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program, AT&T’s arsenal of equipment includes more than 320 technology and equipment, making it one of the nation’s largest and most advanced disaster programs.

The NDR team works closely with other AT&T response teams, local AT&T network personnel, regional Emergency Operations Centers and Local Response Center. In the event of damage, teams are poised to restore and maintain service until permanent repairs can be made.

AT&T also conducts readiness drills and simulations throughout the year to ensure our networks are prepared and our personnel are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. NDR will complete its 74th full-field recovery exercise this year. Since its inception in 1991, the NDR has responded to more than 72 declared disasters across the U.S. Additionally, the AT&T Global Network Operations Center monitors our networks 24/7.

UnitedHealth Group Acts to Support People Affected by Lava Flow

UnitedHealth Group and its benefits and services businesses, UnitedHealthcare and Optum, are taking immediate action to help people on the island of Hawaii who may be affected by the lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano.

This includes a free emotional-support line to help people in the affected communities and assisting health plan participants who may be affected and need to make alternate arrangements to ensure continuity of care.

  • Free Help Line: Optum, a leading health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line.

The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online at www.liveandworkwell.com

  • Help Finding a Network Care Provider, Early Refills: Plan participants who need help finding a care provider in the UnitedHealthcare network or obtaining early prescription refills can call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card.

For plan participants who may have misplaced their medical ID card, call 866-633-2446, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (in the local time zone), Monday through Friday. People enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual health plans who have a smartphone can download the free Health4Me app, which provides instant access to their ID card, network care providers, their personal health benefits and more. The Health4Me app is available as a free download at the Apple iTunes App Store and the Android Market on Google Play.

UnitedHealth Group is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two business platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 85 million people worldwide.

For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION WARNS OF HEALTH EFFECTS FROM SMOKE

The American Lung Association in Hawaii warns visitors and people living near the lava flow in Puna to take precautions against smoke exposure from burning vegetation and low levels of sulfur dioxide.

This smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles released as vegetation burns. In addition to burning your eyes, these fine particles and gases can be inhaled deeply into your lungs, making it harder to breathe.

Exposure can worsen other chronic health conditions such as asthma or heart disease.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide, a gas emitted by volcanoes, can also be harmful, burning the nose and throat and causing breathing difficulties.

Residents with respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and also those with chronic heart disease should take extra precautions during this time and call their physician immediately if problems develop.

“Even those without lung diseases may be at risk during this time,” said Kim Nguyen, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Hawaii. “With exposure to smoke, there is an increased risk of dangerous health effects ranging from respiratory tract irritation to more serious illness, including reduced lung function, bronchitis, worsening of asthma, and premature death. This is especially true for children, older adults and outdoor workers.”

People living near affected areas are encouraged to do the following:

  • Stay inside as much as possible, with doors and windows shut. Make sure only clean air circulates through air conditioners and/or air cleaners by using the recirculation setting.
  • When driving through smoky areas, car windows and vents should be kept closed. Air conditioning should be set to “recirculate” to avoid exposure to unhealthy outside air.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors, particularly if you smell smoke or experience eye or throat irritation.
  • Individuals with asthma are encouraged to contact their physician regarding any changes in medication they may need to cope with smoky conditions. The American Lung Association advises asthma patients who cannot reach their doctor to continue to take their medication and closely follow their asthma action plan as prescribed.

If you have questions, you can call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (choose option #2) to speak to a lung health expert.

For more information about the American Lung Association in Hawaii or to support the work it does, call (808) 537-5966 or visit www.lung.org/hawaii

HAWAII ISLAND HUMANE SOCIETY

Unpredictable lava flows remind us that upfront planning now can ease stressful situations should there be a need to evacuate. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The Hawaii Island Humane Society has a few tips to help keep animals safe in the event of an evacuation:

HIHS encourages all pet owners to be safe and prepared. If you are advised to evacuate, please consider your pet’s safety. Do not leave animals behind.

Develop a plan for their ongoing care including transportation arrangements.

Larger animals including horses and livestock may need to be moved well in advance. Call friends or family members to locate alternate pastures.

Gather items for your pet’s emergency kit –

  • Crate
  • Leash
  • Food
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Identification
  • Medication (if applicable)

If you evacuate, arrive at your destination prepared with your pet’s emergency kit and take your pets!

The mission of the Hawaii Island Humane Society is to promote respect for all animals, prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation, and enhance the bond between humans and animals. HIHS holds a contract with the County of Hawaii to enforce certain animal-related laws and it offers 24-hour service for injured animals and other animal emergencies, humane education classes, low-cost spay and neuter services, lost and found assistance, micro-chipping and more.

For further information, call 808-329-1175 or visit www.hihs.org

If you need help or advice with your emergency planning, call the HIHS Keaau Shelter at 966-5458.

Call for volunteers: In the event of an evacuation, HIHS Keaau Shelter will contact volunteers for assistance. If you are able and willing to assist, call the Keaau Shelter at 966-5458 to add your name to the volunteer call list.

Emergency Kit Wish List for HIHS Keaau Shelter: Donations graciously accepted.
Plastic waste bags for pooper scooping
Crates
Tents
Pet food and bowls
Cat litter and litter boxes
Cable ties
Volunteers and feral cat caretakers

Hui Pono Holoholona offering temporary shelter to cats displaced by lava. Owners provide food, litter, medications.

Email: lava@hphhawaii.org

HelpPuna.com Helps Animal Evacuation

The June 27 lava flow poses a threat to farms and homes in the Puna area near Pahoa. Since this flow is in an agricultural area, it also threatens farm animals such as chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, in addition to dogs and cats.

All these animals would need to be evacuated in the event of an approaching lava flow. As people prepare for possible evacuation, they need to prepare and plan for evacuating their livestock and pets, too.

Finding accommodations for displaced people and their animals could become a major challenge as this lava flow continues. H.E.L.P. Puna is providing a free website service for residents who need to find places to protect their animals, and other residents in safe areas who wish to offer their properties as “Places of Refuge”.

H.E.L.P. is the Hawaii Evacuation of Livestock and Pets, a program of the Good Shepherd Foundation, a nonprofit organization with an animal sanctuary in Opihikao, not far from the lava flow.

Everyone is invited to offer their property as a haven from the lava flow for any livestock and pets they can accommodate. Some will be willing to accept only certain types of animals, such as dogs or cats. Others may have large fenced pastures or yards where they can take horses, sheep, or goats. Still others may have small backyards where they can only take chickens.

Those offering their places as refuges can do so for free or for a fee. It is between the parties to decide all financial issues and ensure there is a good fit.

We also invite those with animal trailers to offer their services on this website. Some people will need help moving their animals.

— Find out more:
www.HelpPuna.com

BIG ISLAND STILL WELCOMING VISITORS

Tourism officials are reminding travelers the lava flow likely will not impact their vacations.

Most of the island’s hotels and resorts located along the Kohala and Kona coasts – the opposite side of the island – and none have announced any changes to operations in response to the lava flow.

Ross Birch, Big Island Visitors Bureau executive director, said, “It’s in a very remote part of the island and people don’t need to change their plans.”

However, Birch said, those with plans to stay at bed-and-breakfast or vacation rental units in the near future should keep in contact with the owners for the latest updates.

Guests who may not be able to stay in those units are urged to contact the BIVB office so accommodations can be made.

“We can connect people and help make other arrangements,” he said. “There is no reason not to come visit the Big Island.”

For further information, call (808) 885-1655 or visit: www.gohawaii.com/big-island

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