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Lava Flow Has Slowed, Yet Hawaii Town Still at Risk

Lava flow from the Big Island slowed on Monday, while rain has helped reduce the smoke rising from burning vegetation as the lava from the Kilauea volcano continued to flow toward the village of Pahoa on Hawaii's Big Island.

Residents of about 50 homes in what civil defense officials describe as a “corridor of risk” still remain on evacuation alert, officials said.

Also on Monday, President Barack Obama on Monday declared the lava flow in Hawaii to be a major disaster, the White House said.

The declaration frees up federal money to help protect local communities from the lava flow, which began moving toward homes on the big island of Hawaii on June 27 and is threatening Pahoa village.

National Guard troops

The lava flow has been moving toward the village for weeks and more than 80 National Guard troops have been deployed to provide security.

The glowing leading edge of the lava flow, which can reach temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,149 degrees Celsius), officials said.

Kilauea has erupted continuously from its Pu'u O'o vent since 1983, with its latest lava flow beginning on June 27.

The leading edge of the flow has paused about 185 yards from Pahoa Village Road, the main thoroughfare through an old sugar plantation.

No homes have been destroyed and no injuries have been reported during the most recent flow.