Two teams are managing the volcano incident in Hawaii

Two separate organizations are managing the issues surrounding the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

The fissures we have been hearing about that are producing toxic gasses and lava flows are on private land on the big island, the Island of Hawaii.

Kilauea volcano fissures map
Map showing the location of the volcano fissures on the Big Island. Click to enlarge.

The large, black convection column is at the Kilauea volcano in Volcanoes National Park 23 miles west of the fissures.  After the level of the lava lake fell by several hundred feet, freshly exposed rocks on the sides of the crater began falling into the lava, creating the black smoke and ash clouds sometimes rising several thousand feet. Due to this and the possibility of a massive explosion if water is introduced into the volcano, creating steam, at the request of the NPS the FAA has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction that extends 20,000 feet AGL and a 12-nautical-mile radius around the summit.

In response to our inquires, Volcanoes National Park Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk sent us this description of how the incidents are being managed:

“There are currently two separate incidents being managed on the Island of Hawaii.  These incidents are both associated with the Kilauea Volcano.

“The Leilani Fissure Eruption is being managed by Hawaii County and the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.  FEMA and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency are assisting with the overall management effort.  This incident is located on private land in the rural Puna district of Hawaii County.

“There is currently no significant wildfire activity associated with the lava flow.  The area has been receiving frequent rainfall and fuels are in the greenup stage.  If the lava activity continues into the dry season wildfire potential may increase.

“On-scene Incident Management of the Leilani Fissure Eruption is currently being provided by a Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) from the Honolulu Fire Department (IC-Bowers) under a Delegation of Authority from the Hawaii County Fire Department.

“The National Park Service is managing an event within the boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  The 2018 HAVO Increased Volcanic Activity Incident has been managed by a local Type 3 organization (IC-Broward), but transfer of command will take place to the NPS Western IMT (IC-Wissinger) at 0800 on May 16, 2018.  The IMT is managing the risk associated with a possible large steam eruption that is predicted to occur at the summit of Kilauea.”

Mr. Funderburk explained that some of the objectives of the IMT include maintaining closures, damage assessments, disseminating information, and managing traffic.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Two teams are managing the volcano incident in Hawaii”

  1. This distorted view of our Big Island of Hawaii is terrible PR! Only adds to the already distorted view the press has been letting run rampant. The affected area of the Puna District down on the little southeastern tip of the Big Island is still only ONE SQUARE MILE out of our 5,000 square mile island. We are the size of Connecticut, and Kona on the east side is almost 125 miles away! Please get rid of this distorted view. Most people on the mainland have no idea the shape and size of this island! PLEASE!

  2. Maps being an incident priority, this gives a ‘satellite-type’ aerial view. Current fissures and lava flow activity are on the east (right) side of the map. Note the blue circle, indicating geothermal wells that are being ‘killed’ and capped because of this incident.

    It is a regularly updated Community Mapping Project to help track the impacts of the activity of Kīlauea volcano in the district of Puna, Hawai’i beginning in May 2018. Data sourced from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, USGS HVO, and social media reports from local news and residents.


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