Eruption site open between 1 and 6 today
A firefirghter at work at the eruption site working to put out the vegetation fires. All stops are put forth today to get the upperhand against the fires today. mbl.is/Hákon
The Meradalir route to the eruption at Litli-Hrútur will be closed until one o’clock today as the walkway will have to be used to transport fire department equipment currently battling a vegetation fire near the eruption sites.
A report from Suðurnes Police states that the area will be open from Suðurstrandarvegur from1 PM, with hiking trails closed at 6 PM in the evening, as has been the case in recent days.
Closure of the eruption site was a success yesterday and no incidents were recorded. Most people understand why access into the area is restricted.
Vegetation fires in the area are still burning and firefighting will continue today, but the Grindavík fire department has planned the biggest operation for the fires since the eruption began.
Attacking the vegetation fires with force
The Grindavík fire department went ahead yesterday with its largest operations against the vegetation fire on the Reykjanes peninsula since the eruption at Litli-Hrútur. About four square miles of vegetation land have already been affected by the fire at the eruption site, but firefighters have now driven large amounts of water to the area. Plans are being made to tackle the vegetation fires today.
Einar Sveinn Jónsson, a fire chief in Grindavík, told Morgunblaðið yesterday that the fire department intended to use the time to lift water from tank trucks to the vegetation area so that they have more water for use today. “We are changing the rhythm of the operation. We are now getting more water from the tanks to the trucks.”
In general, about 15 to 20 firefighters have been at the scene every day, but Jónsson says that we can expect an increase in people at the eruption sites today.
“The number of people on the team will increase considerably, we have more water and more power will be put into it,” Jónsson says, adding that the fire department has so far mostly brought water to the area by helicopter, although some has been brought by trucks. Now they are putting more emphasis on using the trucks. He said he is not sure how much amount of water will be moved to the eruption sites, but says the more the better. “Each tank holds about 8-10 thousand gallons of water, so a few more trips will make a considerable difference,” he says.
Wind direction favourable
Meteorologist at the Icelandic Met Office Þorsteinn V. Jónsson says that southeasterly winds blowing between 8 and 13 meters per second are expected at the eruption site, and will cause the gas pollution to blow out to sea. However, the forecast does not show any rain. A minor rainfall was forecasted last night, but it did not have a major impact on the vegetation fires.
Einar Sveinn Jónsson says the southeasterly wind direction is extremely favorable for the firefighting, considering that the smoke does not blow towards firefighters as they approach the eruption from Suðurstrandarvegur.