By AUDREY McAVOY
HONOLULU (AP) — Lava that has been creeping toward a small town on the Big Island has stalled just before reaching the town’s main road, officials said Saturday.
Some lava has been breaking out along the sides of the flow, but it’s moving slowly, said Darryl Oliveira, director of Hawaii County civil defense. “At this point, there’s very little activity taking place that’s posing any increased threat to the residents or the community,” Oliveira said.
The flow has stalled about 480 feet from the main road in and out of Pahoa, a town of about 1,000 residents.
Lava has been streaming down the volcano’s flank toward the northeast since June. Last weekend, it crossed a country road. It then smothered part of a cemetery, toppled trees and burned a shed, tires and grass.
Authorities have alerted about 50 households in Pahoa they should be prepared to evacuate.
Small fires from the lava were generating light to moderate amounts of smoke Saturday. Trade winds have been pushing the smoke toward the south and southwest.
Opportunists pose another lava risk, Oliveira said. Someone posing as a government inspector approached a resident living within a blocked-off zone Friday and asked for access to a private property.
No government official is going door-to-door to conduct damage assessments, Oliveira said. He urged residents to ask for identification if they are suspicious and to call police if they see questionable behavior.
Police plan to investigate the fake inspector, Oliveira said.
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