Vacationland completely covered by lava

  • This view, looking south at Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone, was captured during HVO's 6 a.m. Wednesday helicopter overflight. It shows continued fountaining of fissure 8 and the lava flow channel fed by it. Lava continues to flow quickly in these braided channels; the flow margins are currently stable and have not experienced any breakouts since June 5. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim, confirmed Wednesday morning that lava from Kilauea volcano had completely covered the subdivision in Kapoho and at last report, just a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots remained. USGS
  • A robust laze (lava haze) plume rises from the northern side of the fissure 8 lava flow margins in the former Kapoho Bay. As of 6 a.m. Wednesday this part of the flow front was slowly advancing through the remaining sections of the Kapoho Beach Lots subdivision. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • This fish-eye view of the lava delta filling the former Kapoho Bay on Wednesday shows that while the delta margin nearest the ocean has cooled somewhat, the lava flow front is still very hot and producing laze (lava haze). Laze is a local hazard composed of acidic gases and volcanic glass fragments and should be avoided. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

HILO — Vacationland is gone.

That was the message Wednesday morning from Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim. She said that lava from Kilauea volcano had completely covered the subdivision in Kapoho and at last report, just a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots remained. Lava continues to pour into the ocean, enlarging the delta at the former Kapoho Bay site.

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Snyder said the official tally of homes last is at 130, but noted that does not count the homes lost at Kapoho, since those have to be verified by drone overflight and comparison with tax department maps, and that hundreds more still need to be counted.

Snyder quoted Kim, who had a second home in Vacationland, as saying, “Hundreds of homes and a lifestyle is gone.”

Fissure no. 8 is the only one currently active, but walls of a perched pond from the fissure are expected to break and send more lava oozing toward the ocean.

According to Snyder, a number of drone operators have been cited for violating the temporary flight restriction area over lava flows.

Snyder also noted that Gov. David Ige’s second emergency proclamation, which eased permitting regulations to help with the building of temporary housing for lava evacuees, also made it a full misdemeanor to interfere with emergency personnel of any type, not just law enforcement authorities.

Ige is coming to Hilo Thursday to meet with Kim, Snyder said, and the main focus will be on fast-tracking temporary housing.

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According to Snyder, Kim said, “Things that took weeks and months to get done in the past has now taken days.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com