Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Hawaii officials order some residents to flee from fast lava

Hawaii officials order some residents to flee from fast lava

Leilani Estates, a small residential neighborhood on the Big Island of Hawaii near the town of Pahoa, has been at the epicenter of the Kilauea volcanic eruption for the past three weeks.

FEMA's David Mace says the lava breached the property overnight and is within 200 metres of one of the capped wells, Nine News reports. "Also due to preventative measures, neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide", it said.

And on Sunday night, after authorities went door-to-door to urge remaining residents in a portion of Leilani Estates to get out, firefighters scrambled to rescue a man whose driveway was covered by fast-moving lava. NASA's Earth Observatory also shared a nighttime view of the lava flows in the form of a false-color view of the molten rock taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Officials said it wasn't strong enough to generate a tsunami.

It was shut down shortly after Kilauea began spewing lava May 3.

The lava has destroyed 82 structures on the Hawaii island, and another 37 structures have become inaccessible in the last days, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told CNN.

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"Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings", it said.

The sole reported serious injury from the eruption so far came when a man was hit by flying lava. A flammable gas called pentane is used as part of the process, though officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

Steve Brantley, of the U.S. Geological Survey, said the flow was at least 1 1/2 miles long.

An eruption from the summit's Halemaumau crater on Monday sent ash nearly 15,000 feet (4,600 m) into the air, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The lava is flowing from about two dozen fissures, the first of which opened more than three weeks ago.

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