- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Lava from Kilauea volcano has been pushing through the forest line and moving into an area with lighter vegetation as it slowly approaches Pahoa town.

The area is mostly uluhe ferns, which means there’s a greater risk of a fire starting because the ferns create a canopy that keeps the vegetation underneath dry, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira.

“You can have dry material underneath, and even while it’s green, it burns,” he said, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://bit.ly/1uS0GYc) reported Friday.

Oliveira said he’s hopeful there’s enough moisture so the lava doesn’t spark any brush fires. Officials will keep an eye on it, he said.

The area sits on privately owned land with road access, which will allow firefighters to respond should a brush fire ignite.

Scientists estimate the lava could reach Apaa Road in Pahoa in two weeks if it continues to flow at its current pace of about 130 yards a day.

This forecast may change, however.

“The lava flow advancement rate is changing week by week and day by day, it’s important for everyone to keep abreast of what the advance rate is day by day,” said Steve Brantley, the acting scientist-in-charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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