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U.S. Weather

Small stream of lava nears empty Hawaii house

Hawaii Volcano-2.jpg

This photo taken on Oct. 31, 2014, and released by the U.S. Geological Survey, shows a hole left behind by a large tree that was surrounded by lava, burned through at its base and collapsed onto the solidified flow surface, near the town of Pahoa, Hawaii. The end of the tree trunk is glowing, and flames from burning wood are emanating from the hole. Geologists say this represents an under-appreciated hazard of the lava flow field, as trees that were surrounded by lava can fall long after the leading edge has passed by. The tip of the flow that remains halted in a Pahoa farmer's yard is now cool to the touch, but a few hundred yards upstream an active stretch of lava is "inflating," or filling with fresh lava. (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey) (The Associated Press)

A small stream of lava is getting close to hitting the first house in a rural town on Hawaii's Big Island that has been watching the flow for months.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say the breakout flow was about 5 yards from the home's garage Monday morning in Pahoa. Officials are bracing for the lava to burn the house, whose occupants have already left.

Meanwhile, the front of the flow hasn't crept any closer to Pahoa Village Road, which goes through downtown. It has remained about 480 feet away for more than a week.

The leading edge has stalled, but lava is breaking away at several spots upslope.

One lobe was about 22 yards from a now-closed refuse transfer station.

The molten rock has been creeping slowly toward the town, and many residents have evacuated.