- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The public could soon get an up-close look at portions of the cooling lava flow on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The plan is to let people walk up to - but not on - the lava, said Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira.

“Our goal is to see if we can do something in the next week,” Oliveira said, adding no dates have been determined.

Lava oozing from Kilauea Volcano crossed Apaa Street in October, and then covered a cemetery and destroyed a nearby house. It’s been cooling for nearly a month, leaving behind a craggy mass of black rock.

Heat still radiates from underneath some parts of the flow. The Hawaii Tribune Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1vMEXwY ) Friday that Warren Lee, county Public Works director, said he detected temperatures of 300 degrees inside a crack in the stalled flow Thursday.

While that area continues to cool, the lava flow is anything but “pau,” or done.

Another flow finger remains active and appears headed toward Pahoa Marketplace. The Apaa Street area is not threatened by that flow, officials said.

The front of the active area advanced another 225 yards as of Saturday morning and was 1.7 miles from Highway 130.

Reopening Apaa Street would offer the general public the first opportunity to see the flow for themselves. About 1,000 school children and already got to peek.

Oliveira said there will be security present as well as parking areas.

“We’d like to keep everyone safe and make sure their experience here is one that is very meaningful,” he said.

The county, with help from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and other groups, has provided tours of the inactive lava flow to school students throughout the week.

Oliveira said he is talking with state Department of Education about continuing those trips.

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

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