Hawaii town's merchants meet to discuss lava flow

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Merchants in a small Hawaii town are meeting with civil defense officials to understand how lava from Kilauea (kih-luh-WAY'-uh) volcano could affect their community and businesses.

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in downtown Pahoa, on the Big Island.

Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. Scientists issued a warning last week when a lava flow moved to within a mile of a subdivision.

They say the lava could creep into Kaohe (cah-OH'-hay) Homesteads or it could skirt the subdivision.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Wednesday the flow had advanced 460 yards since the previous morning.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi told community members Tuesday that officials are preparing for the possibility that lava will cross key roads within weeks. This could cut off a large part of the sprawling, mostly rural Puna district from the rest of the Big Island.

The county is planning alternate routes.