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Posted: June 12, 2018

Kilauea eruption: As many as 700 homes destroyed on Hawaii's Big Island


By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

PUNA, Big Island, Hawaii —

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate over the past month as Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano continues erupting, spewing rivers of lava and molten rock over rural districts on the Big Island.

>> Read more trending news

Here are the latest updates:

Update 11 a.m. EDT June 12: Officials believe that as many as 700 homes have been destroyed as lava continues to flow on Hawaii's Big Island since the eruption of the Kilauea volcano began on May 3, according to Hawaii News Now.

"There a lot of desperation out there, a lot of tears. A lot of what now?" Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said Monday at a news conference.

Bob Fenton, an administrator for FEMA, told Hawaii News Now on Monday that he was "amazed at the amount of devastation" caused by the eruption after taking a flight over areas ravaged by lava.

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned early Tuesday that another small explosion took place at Kilauea's summit.

The earthquakes that preceded the explosion were "widely felt in the Volcano area," officials said.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned residents to be wary of ash fallout as a result of the eruption.

Update 5:02 a.m. EDT June 8: Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said lava from Kilauea has destroyed more than 600 homes since early last month. That total includes about 320 homes in Kapoho and all of the homes in Vacationland, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Meanwhile, some of the parking lots outside some evacuation shelters in Puna have been transformed into tent villages, Hawaii News Now reported.

Update 11:00 p.m. EDT June 7: Since Mount Kilauea started erupting on May 3, lava has destroyed more than 400 homes. Now it seems molten rock has also destroyed a 400-year-old lake, which vanished over the weekend, according to Hawaii News Now.

Green Lake, also known as Ka Wai a Pele, was Hawaii's largest freshwater natural resource and a favorite swimming spot for Islanders. Now it’s gone.

Officials said the lake disappeared after lava entered the water basin, turning the lake water into steam and leaving in its place a lake of lava.

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT June 6: Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shared a photo Wednesday of lava flows covering Kapoho Bay and Vacationland and warned that a fissure opened by the ongoing Kilauea eruption was “still very active.”

 

"It's a slow-moving flow. Nothing stops it," Talmadge Magno, administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, told Hawaii News Now. "The volcano is going strong."

The news station reported that there are at least 350 homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and 140 in Vacationland. Authorities believe a majority of those homes have been lost, according to Hawaii News Now.

"It's saddening. It's disheartening to see it go like that," Jason Hill, whose father lives in Kapoho, told Hawaii News Now. "The anxiety lies in what happens next."

Update 5:45 a.m. EDT June 6: Hundreds of homes have been destroyed on Hawaii’s Big Island after lava “completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots,” The Associated Press reported late Tuesday.

That’s in addition to the 117 homes that were destroyed previously, officials said.

Read more here.

 

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Lava has burned down 117 homes over the past four weeks as Kilauea continues its powerful upheaval with no end in site, Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder told The Associated Press

It has been hard for authorities to keep track of the number of structures that have burned because it was hard to tell the difference between homes and other structures from aerial surveys, the AP reported.

 

Update 9:25 a.m. EDT June 4: Kilauea summit was rocked by a 5.5 earthquake, the Hawaii County Civil Defense announced. The quake sent an ash plume 8,000 feet in the air, CNN reported

There was no tsunami warning, but officials said that the earthquake will affect the volcano and warned of aftershocks.

There were 500 earthquakes in the area over 24-hours this weekend, CNN reported.

Update 3 p.m. EDT June 3: The National Guard told Hawaii News Now that the Honolulu Fire Department evacuated three people Sunday morning by helicopter after lava flows stranded them in an isolated area of Kapoho and Vacationland.

No injuries were reported, according to the news station.

 

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT June 3: Officials at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that “vigorous lava eruptions” continued Sunday morning in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

A map shared one day earlier by USGS officials showed lava moving toward the coast, cutting some residents off from the rest of the Big Island. 

 

Officials said that lava was flowing about 500 yards from the Kapoho tidepools Sunday morning. The flow front was about half a mile wide.

Update 8:13 a.m. EDT June 3: Hawaii Civil Defense Service officials warned residents to evacuate or risk being cut off by the hot lava, CNN reported. There was no power, cell reception, landlines or county water, officials said.

Authorities planned to airlift people out of the area if lava spreads farther and endangers the holdouts, CNN reported.

More than 80 structures have been destroyed in the eruption that started May 3. It has since inundated almost 325 acres around Kilauea with lava and led to concerns about laze, a toxic mixture of lava and haze that forms when hot lava hits ocean waters.

>> What is laze? Hawaii volcano lava reaches the Pacific Ocean

Update 7:14 a.m. EDT June 3: The fissure 8 flow continues to advance into the Kapoho Crater, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

 

Update 9:14 p.m. EDT June 2: Seven people were cited for loitering disaster zone and will have to appear in court, according to KHNL.

The people were in lower Puna Friday night, where mandatory evacuation orders are in place.  

Update 3:52 p.m. EDT June 2: Mandatory evacuations are underway in Hawaii Island’s Leilani Estates neighborhood  as "vigorous lava eruptions" threaten more homes, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.

The order issued by Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday states those who stay do so at their own risk and may not be rescued by first responders. 

“They are being asked to leave. Period,” county spokeswoman Janet Snyder told reporters.

 

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 23: Officials said all 11 wells at Puna Geothermal Venture’s plant on Hawaii’s Big Island had been successfully plugged by Tuesday as lava continued to inch toward the plant, Hawaii News Now reported.

“The well field at PGV is essentially safe,” Hawaii Emergency Management Administrator Thomas Travis said, according to the news station. “The probability of anything happening if lava enters the well field is very, very low. They should feel pretty comfortable that there should be no untoward events from Puna Geothermal, assuming the lava doesn't change its pattern or flow."

Reuters reported Monday that workers were scrambling to plug the plant’s wells to avoid an “uncontrollable release of toxic gasses.”

Update 4:37 p.m. EDT May 22: Lava continued to flow Tuesday on Hawaii's Big Island, creating toxic laze as it hit ocean waters. 

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a majority of the lava was flowing Tuesday from a trio of fissures that have opened in recent days.

   

Update 11:56 a.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released video Tuesday of lava hitting the ocean one day earlier, creating a toxic laze plume.

 

Laze is formed when lava enters the ocean, setting off a series of chemical reactions and cooling the lava until it transforms into glass, which shatters, according to USGS officials. It creates white clouds of steam that contain toxic gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass. 

Update 10:18 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials with the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency warned Tuesday of another “explosive eruption” at Kilauea’s summit

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the explosion around 3:45 a.m.

“The resulting ash plume may affect the surrounding areas,” officials warned. “The wind may carry the ash plume to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Waiohinu.”

Authorities said the biggest hazard from Tuesday’s early morning eruption is likely to be ash fallout. Residents were asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials warned in an update Monday afternoon that "additional explosions (are) possible at any time" on Kilauea's summit.

 

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Lava is flowing toward a geothermal power plant on Hawaii’s Big Island as Mount Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Reuters is reporting that workers are scrambling to shut down the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant to prevent the “uncontrollable release of toxic gases.”

The plant provides about 25 percent of the Big Island’s power, but has been closed since the volcanic eruptions started on May 3.

 

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said early Monday that a small explosion happened just before 1 a.m. local time at the Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit.

The explosion shot ash about 7,000 feet into the air.

"Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time," USGS officials said.

The Hawaiian County Civil Defense Agency warned residents to be aware of ashfall after the "explosive eruption."

Update 12:38 p.m. May 20: Lava from the Kilauea volcano has crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said Sunday. A second lava flow is about 437 yards from the highway, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Big Island residents may now have to contend with laze -- a mixture of lava and haze -- that forms when hot lava hits the ocean, CNN reported.

After making contact with the water, the laze sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

Laze can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, CNN reported.

"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows," the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote on its website.

Officials have told people to avoid areas where lava meets the ocean, CNN reported.

Powerful eruptions accompanied by thunderous booms punctuated the air Friday around Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The volcano spewed lava bombs the size of cows as molten rock flowed from several of the 22 fissures that have opened around the volcano. 

   

Update 2 a.m. EDT May 19: Fast-moving lava isolated about 40 homes in a rural subdivision, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters, the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, police, firefighters and National Guard troops were stopping people from entering the area.

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT May 18: Hawaiian authorities have sent the National Guard, police and fire units into the East Rift Zone in Puna, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency.

“There are approximately 40 homes in the area that are isolated. Officials are gaining access by helicopter to the area to assess how many people are there and if they need assistance. All persons in that area are asked to stay where they are and wait for further instructions,” the agency said on its website.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has confirmed another fissure opened on Friday, bringing the total number of fissures to 22. 

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Update 8:30 a.m. EDT May 18:  More lava is spewing 

from the Kilauea volcano as the 21st fissure opened Thursday, CNN reported.

 

Meanwhile, state officials have been handing out masks to protect people who live near Kilauea, ABC News reported. About 18,000 masks have been distributed, CNN reported. The safety measure protects residents from breathing in pieces of rock, glass and crystals that fall as the volcano continues to erupt, ABC News reported.

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 17: Lava is erupting from points along the fissure system on Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the agency is calling it a “low-level eruption” at this point. 

 

Although lava is still spattering from Fissure 17, the flow has not advanced significantly over the past day, the USGS said.

There are currently 18 fissures that have opened due to seismic activity on Kilauea’ over the past two weeks. 

Volcanic gas emission are still elevated throughout the area and residents are urged to remain on alert. 

“This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area,” the USGS reported late Thursday

Rain on the Big Island Thursday helped the situation with the ashfall, but volcano experts are warning the situation on Kilauea is  still very dynamic.

Original report: Several schools were closed as ash continued to fall Thursday due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels. Officials warned people in the area to take shelter and protect themselves from the falling ash.

>> Here's how to help victims of Hawaii volcano, earthquakes

"The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area," officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a 5 a.m. alert. In a subsequent update, USGS officials said the ash plume was moving to the northeast.

The plume could be seen in an image taken from a webcam at the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

 

"Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves," the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned.

Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the situation remained “very, very active and very dynamic,” on Thursday.

“The potential for larger explosions is still there,” she said.

Officials with the USGS warned Tuesday that an eruption of Kilauea's volcano appeared "imminent."

>> Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’

The eruption on Kilauea began May 3. It has since forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures -- including dozens of homes -- and created more than two dozen fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano.

Check back for updates to this developing story.


Related

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Volcano

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Volcano

PAHOA, HI - MAY 16: A USGS (United States Geological Survey) geologist (L) surveys lava illuminating volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii's Big Island on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater 'has raised the potential for explosive eruptions' at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hawaii volcano eruptions: Kilauea spawns 18th fissure

Thousands of people have been evacuated from homes on Hawaii's Big Island as an eruption of the Kilauea volcano spewed toxic gas and lava in parts of lower Puna, destroying dozens of buildings.

>> Read more trending news

Here are the latest developments on the eruption of the Kilauea volcano:

Update 2:58 p.m. EDT May 14: Officials on Monday warned residents of Lanipuna Gardens to be on the alert for gas emissions and "active volcanic eruption" after an 18th fissure opened on the Big Island one day earlier.

>> Photos: Hawaii volcano erupts

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey released aerial footage of the ongoing eruption, showing lava and ash flying 500 feet into the air.

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT May 14: Residents of lower Puna have been warned to be prepared for evacuations with little to no advanced notice after an 18th fissure opened Sunday.

>> Related: Missing dogs found stuck between lava and fence, rescued

Officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said it opened on private property between the 16th and 17th fissures.

Eruptions were ongoing Sunday night, officials with the U.S. Geological Survey said, sending lava and rock hundreds of feet into the air.

"This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible," USGS officials said in a status report from the Hawaiian Volcano Obseratory. "Activity can change rapidly."

Officials noted that steam and volcanic gas was rising Sunday from the Overlook crater in Halemaumau, inside Kilauea’s caldera.

"This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible,” USGS officials said. “Activity can change rapidly.”

Update 7:16 a.m. EDT May 14: The Kilauea volcano has now spawned 18 fissures, the latest opening Sunday evening, Hawaii News Now reported early Monday.

The news “heightened fears about the possibility of a mass evacuation if the volcanic activity continues,” the outlet reported.

The eruptions reportedly have destroyed 27 homes and 10 other buildings, and lava has damaged 50 utility poles and covered 117 acres.

Read more here.

Update 3:45 a.m. EDT May 12: While no lava has flowed since Wednesday from the 15 fissures that cracked open in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, earthquakes, ground deformation and ongoing emissions of sulphur dioxide indicate more lava outbreaks are likely, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists can’t say for sure where the lava outbreaks might occur, but they think the chances are high that lava will flow again either from the existing fissures or erupt from the ground near openings.

They’re warning that anything downslope from these fissures is at risk of being destroyed from lava.

Update May 11: President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for Hawaii on Friday a day after a request from the state’s Gov. David Ige. 

The declaration means federal funds will now be available for help in repairing roads, public parks, schools and water pipes damaged or destroyed by the eruption of Kilauea last week and the ongoing earthquakes related to the eruption.

The federal assistance also covers any security that’s needed, geologists and any type of military help that might be needed. 

“I’m grateful for the quick approval of my request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. This opens the door to federal assistance and demonstrates a solid partnership with the federal government as we work to keep Hawai‘i residents safe and support recovery efforts on Hawai‘i Island,” Ige said in a press release.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed and more than 1,700 people have been evacuated after Kilauea erupted on May 3, sending sulfuric acid, molten rocks and lava into neighborhoods on Hawaii’s Big Island.

A series of earthquakes followed the initial eruption, including a massive 6.9 magnitude quake that rattled the Big Island on May 4 and caused panic among residents already scared by the volcanic eruption.  

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed down until further notice due to the risk of "explosive eruptions" at Kilauea's summit, officials announced on Wednesday.

Update 9:10 a.m. EDT May 10: A new fissure opened Wednesday near the entrance to the Lanipuna Subdivision, officials with Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said, bringing the total number of fissures to 15.

Authorities said more than 116 acres have been covered by lava since last week, when the eruptions began. Thirty-six structures, including at least 26 homes, have been destroyed.

Officials announced Wednesday that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed Friday due to safety concerns amid the possibility of an explosion at Kilauea’s summit.

Authorities with the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday that the risk of “explosive eruptions” will rise in the coming weeks as lava flows from the fissures that have opened in the area, lowering the lava lake.

“If the lava column drops to the level of groundwater beneath Kīlauea Caldera, (the) influx of water into the conduit could cause steam-driven explosions,” USGS officials said. “Debris expelled during such explosions could impact the area surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu and the Kīlauea summit. At this time, we cannot say with certainty that explosive activity will occur, how large the explosions could be, or how long such explosive activity could continue.”

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT May 9: A total of 14 fissures have opened in Hawaii’s Leilani Estates neighborhood, spreading lava over 104 acres and destroying 36 structures, officials said Tuesday.

Update 4:45 p.m. EDT May 8: A total of 12 fissures have now opened in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on Hawaii’s Big Island, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The lava is no longer flowing from the fissures, but Kilauea volcano is still releasing hazardous fumes, the observatory reported.

The lava has covered more than 100 acres so far and has destroyed 35 structures, including more than 25 homes.

“This is not over,” USGS geologist Janet Babb told Hawaii News Now

“There’s still magma within the rift zone. In the foreseeable future, this eruption is likely to continue,” she said.

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT May 7: Two more fissures opened in the Leilani Estates neighborhood late Monday, according to Hawaii News Now, which cited the U.S. Geological Survey, bringing the number of fissures in the community to 10. 

The USGS expects the Kilauea eruption to continue because seismic activity is still ongoing in the area. The agency is warning that aftershocks from Friday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake are also continuing and that large aftershocks are possible.

Update 2:17 p.m. EDT May 7: Officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said lava had destroyed 35 structures in the Leilani Estates Subdivision, including 26 homes, by Monday morning after a total of 10 fissures opened in the area.

“The residents of Leilani Estates are going through a very difficult time,” officials said in an update around 6 a.m. local time. “We ask for your understanding. We ask for your help.”

Update 12:35 a.m. EDT May 7: According to The Associated Press, at least 26 homes have been destroyed by the Kilauea volcano, officials said Sunday. 

“Lava has spread around 387,500 square feet surrounding the most active fissure, though the rate of movement is slow,” the AP reported.

Meanwhile, Hawaii News Now reported Sunday night that “an 11th fissure has just opened in Leilani Estates” and that authorities said people in the area should leave immediately.

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT May 5: There are social media reports of a new eruption taking place in Leilani Estates Saturday morning, Hawaii News Now reports.

Update 7:05 p.m. EDT May 4: A series of earthquakes shook parts of Hawaii Friday as the Kilauea volcano continued erupting. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 6.9 quake just after 6:30 p.m. EDT centered 11 miles from Ainaloa, Hawaii, scaring already frightened residents.

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT May 4: New eruptions were reported Friday morning in the east rift zone of Kilauea, Hawaii News Now reported. Officials told the news station that at least two structures were damaged as the eruptions sent lava flying.

Authorities warned residents to evacuate the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions. Hawaii County Fire Department officials said they detected "extremely high levels" of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area.

Original report: "Shortly before 5 p.m., lava was confirmed at the surface in the eastern end of the subdivision," Observatory officials said.

The Hawaii Fire Department reported extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area, the Star-Advertiser reported

The Hawaii County Civil Defense ordered residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens to evacuate to a local community center, CNN reported.

The evacuation comes after hundreds of earthquakes hit the eastern side of the Big Island, CNN reported.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes have been recorded in the area, CNN reported. They are the result of a collapse of a crater floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone.

Video captured lava shooting into the sky from a crack in a road. Aerial drone footage showed a line of lava making its way through a forest, CNN reported.

Lower Puna resident Ikaika Marzo told the Star Advertiser he saw lava shooting up to 150 feet in the air.

“It sounds like a jet engine. It’s going hard,” Marzo told the newspaper.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory scientists said that a 492-foot-long fissure erupted with lava bubble bursts for about two hours. The lava stopped after traveling a few yards from the fissure, the scientists said.

Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: How to help the victims

As Hawaii’s residents face the threat of more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, some organizations are gearing up to provide aid to residents who have been displaced since the Kilauea volcano erupted.

>> Read more trending news

Officials have evacuated thousands and have confirmed at least two homes were damaged by the lava spewing from the volcano. The situation became more complicated Friday when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the area, CNN reported. It was the most powerful earthquake on the Big Island since 1975, according to U.S. Geological Survey officials.

>> Massive 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes Hawaii

There are ways people can donate to help, Hawaii News Now reported.

AT&T has activated its text-to-donate line. To make a donation, text REDCROSS to 90999. That will send a $10 donation to the American Red Cross and its recovery efforts. The charge will appear on the donor’s monthly telephone bill.

Donations may also be made directly to the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter through its website or by calling (808) 739-8109.

GoFundMe published a list of verified campaigns of those affected or displaced by the natural disasters.

See more ways to donate at Hawaii News Now.

Missing dogs found stuck between lava and fence, rescued

After they were missing for 10 days, two dogs have finally been rescued after an active volcano started spewing lava on Hawaii.

Brus and Little Dude ran away as firefighters evacuated their owner Carol Hosley from her apartment while Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted. 

First, Jack-Russel-pug-mix Brus ran away from the firefighters, and then Little Dude, a black terrier mix, followed after him, Hawaii News Now reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Crews from the Aloha Ilio Rescue went to look for the pair for 10 days. Eventually, they found them Sunday, trapped between a cooling lava flow and a fence.

“They were stuck behind a  fence, and they couldn’t get out because the lava had surrounded them,” Dayynn Kyles, president of Aloha Ilio Dog Rescuetold Hawaii News Now.

Rescuers crawled over grass and the fence to get to the scared dogs. The animals were also bitten by red ants and close to the 17th fissure of the eruption. 

The dogs are now at the rescue’s facility, which operates fully on donations, until their owner can find permanent housing.

At least 35 buildings have been destroyed by the volcano, NPR reported. Scientists are not sure when the lava flow will end.

  Hawaii volcano eruptions: Kilauea spawns 18th fissure
  Photos: Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption
  Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: How to help the victims

Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’ 

The U.S. Geological Survey has raised the alert for Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano from an orange to a red warning.

>> Read more trending news 

Ash eruption at the volcano’s summit increased in intensity Tuesday, with an ash cloud spewing as high as 12,000 feet above sea level, according to the USGS.

Ashfall and air pollution associated with a volcanic eruption have been reported as far as 18 miles downwind of Kilauea in Pahala.

A red warning means a “major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air,” the USGS said.

"At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent," the agency tweeted.

The eruption on Kilauea began more than a week ago and has forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures, including dozens of homes, and created 18 fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano. 

Lava has inundated almost 120 acres and damaged 50 utility poles.

>> Related: Hawaii volcano eruptions: Kilauea spawns 18th fissure

Hawaii authorities are warning residents in areas around the volcano to be prepared  to evacuate with little or no advanced warning.

 

  Hawaii volcano eruptions: Kilauea spawns 18th fissure
  Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: How to help the victims
  Missing dogs found stuck between lava and fence, rescued
  Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’ 
  Kilauea eruption: As many as 700 homes destroyed on Hawaii's Big Island

Kilauea eruption: As many as 700 homes destroyed on Hawaii's Big Island

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate over the past month as Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano continues erupting, spewing rivers of lava and molten rock over rural districts on the Big Island.

>> Read more trending news

Here are the latest updates:

Update 11 a.m. EDT June 12: Officials believe that as many as 700 homes have been destroyed as lava continues to flow on Hawaii's Big Island since the eruption of the Kilauea volcano began on May 3, according to Hawaii News Now.

"There a lot of desperation out there, a lot of tears. A lot of what now?" Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said Monday at a news conference.

Bob Fenton, an administrator for FEMA, told Hawaii News Now on Monday that he was "amazed at the amount of devastation" caused by the eruption after taking a flight over areas ravaged by lava.

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned early Tuesday that another small explosion took place at Kilauea's summit.

The earthquakes that preceded the explosion were "widely felt in the Volcano area," officials said.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned residents to be wary of ash fallout as a result of the eruption.

Update 5:02 a.m. EDT June 8: Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said lava from Kilauea has destroyed more than 600 homes since early last month. That total includes about 320 homes in Kapoho and all of the homes in Vacationland, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Meanwhile, some of the parking lots outside some evacuation shelters in Puna have been transformed into tent villages, Hawaii News Now reported.

Update 11:00 p.m. EDT June 7: Since Mount Kilauea started erupting on May 3, lava has destroyed more than 400 homes. Now it seems molten rock has also destroyed a 400-year-old lake, which vanished over the weekend, according to Hawaii News Now.

Green Lake, also known as Ka Wai a Pele, was Hawaii's largest freshwater natural resource and a favorite swimming spot for Islanders. Now it’s gone.

Officials said the lake disappeared after lava entered the water basin, turning the lake water into steam and leaving in its place a lake of lava.

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT June 6: Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shared a photo Wednesday of lava flows covering Kapoho Bay and Vacationland and warned that a fissure opened by the ongoing Kilauea eruption was “still very active.”

"It's a slow-moving flow. Nothing stops it," Talmadge Magno, administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, told Hawaii News Now. "The volcano is going strong."

The news station reported that there are at least 350 homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and 140 in Vacationland. Authorities believe a majority of those homes have been lost, according to Hawaii News Now.

"It's saddening. It's disheartening to see it go like that," Jason Hill, whose father lives in Kapoho, told Hawaii News Now. "The anxiety lies in what happens next."

Update 5:45 a.m. EDT June 6: Hundreds of homes have been destroyed on Hawaii’s Big Island after lava “completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots,” The Associated Press reported late Tuesday.

That’s in addition to the 117 homes that were destroyed previously, officials said.

Read more here.

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Lava has burned down 117 homes over the past four weeks as Kilauea continues its powerful upheaval with no end in site, Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder told The Associated Press

It has been hard for authorities to keep track of the number of structures that have burned because it was hard to tell the difference between homes and other structures from aerial surveys, the AP reported.

Update 9:25 a.m. EDT June 4: Kilauea summit was rocked by a 5.5 earthquake, the Hawaii County Civil Defense announced. The quake sent an ash plume 8,000 feet in the air, CNN reported

There was no tsunami warning, but officials said that the earthquake will affect the volcano and warned of aftershocks.

There were 500 earthquakes in the area over 24-hours this weekend, CNN reported.

Update 3 p.m. EDT June 3: The National Guard told Hawaii News Now that the Honolulu Fire Department evacuated three people Sunday morning by helicopter after lava flows stranded them in an isolated area of Kapoho and Vacationland.

No injuries were reported, according to the news station.

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT June 3: Officials at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that “vigorous lava eruptions” continued Sunday morning in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

A map shared one day earlier by USGS officials showed lava moving toward the coast, cutting some residents off from the rest of the Big Island. 

Officials said that lava was flowing about 500 yards from the Kapoho tidepools Sunday morning. The flow front was about half a mile wide.

Update 8:13 a.m. EDT June 3: Hawaii Civil Defense Service officials warned residents to evacuate or risk being cut off by the hot lava, CNN reported. There was no power, cell reception, landlines or county water, officials said.

Authorities planned to airlift people out of the area if lava spreads farther and endangers the holdouts, CNN reported.

More than 80 structures have been destroyed in the eruption that started May 3. It has since inundated almost 325 acres around Kilauea with lava and led to concerns about laze, a toxic mixture of lava and haze that forms when hot lava hits ocean waters.

>> What is laze? Hawaii volcano lava reaches the Pacific Ocean

Update 7:14 a.m. EDT June 3: The fissure 8 flow continues to advance into the Kapoho Crater, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Update 9:14 p.m. EDT June 2: Seven people were cited for loitering disaster zone and will have to appear in court, according to KHNL.

The people were in lower Puna Friday night, where mandatory evacuation orders are in place.  

Update 3:52 p.m. EDT June 2: Mandatory evacuations are underway in Hawaii Island’s Leilani Estates neighborhood  as "vigorous lava eruptions" threaten more homes, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.

The order issued by Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday states those who stay do so at their own risk and may not be rescued by first responders. 

“They are being asked to leave. Period,” county spokeswoman Janet Snyder told reporters.

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 23: Officials said all 11 wells at Puna Geothermal Venture’s plant on Hawaii’s Big Island had been successfully plugged by Tuesday as lava continued to inch toward the plant, Hawaii News Now reported.

“The well field at PGV is essentially safe,” Hawaii Emergency Management Administrator Thomas Travis said, according to the news station. “The probability of anything happening if lava enters the well field is very, very low. They should feel pretty comfortable that there should be no untoward events from Puna Geothermal, assuming the lava doesn't change its pattern or flow."

Reuters reported Monday that workers were scrambling to plug the plant’s wells to avoid an “uncontrollable release of toxic gasses.”

Update 4:37 p.m. EDT May 22: Lava continued to flow Tuesday on Hawaii's Big Island, creating toxic laze as it hit ocean waters. 

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a majority of the lava was flowing Tuesday from a trio of fissures that have opened in recent days.

Update 11:56 a.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released video Tuesday of lava hitting the ocean one day earlier, creating a toxic laze plume.

Laze is formed when lava enters the ocean, setting off a series of chemical reactions and cooling the lava until it transforms into glass, which shatters, according to USGS officials. It creates white clouds of steam that contain toxic gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass. 

Update 10:18 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials with the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency warned Tuesday of another “explosive eruption” at Kilauea’s summit

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the explosion around 3:45 a.m.

“The resulting ash plume may affect the surrounding areas,” officials warned. “The wind may carry the ash plume to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Waiohinu.”

Authorities said the biggest hazard from Tuesday’s early morning eruption is likely to be ash fallout. Residents were asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials warned in an update Monday afternoon that "additional explosions (are) possible at any time" on Kilauea's summit.

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Lava is flowing toward a geothermal power plant on Hawaii’s Big Island as Mount Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Reuters is reporting that workers are scrambling to shut down the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant to prevent the “uncontrollable release of toxic gases.”

The plant provides about 25 percent of the Big Island’s power, but has been closed since the volcanic eruptions started on May 3.

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said early Monday that a small explosion happened just before 1 a.m. local time at the Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit.

The explosion shot ash about 7,000 feet into the air.

"Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time," USGS officials said.

The Hawaiian County Civil Defense Agency warned residents to be aware of ashfall after the "explosive eruption."

Update 12:38 p.m. May 20: Lava from the Kilauea volcano has crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said Sunday. A second lava flow is about 437 yards from the highway, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Big Island residents may now have to contend with laze -- a mixture of lava and haze -- that forms when hot lava hits the ocean, CNN reported.

After making contact with the water, the laze sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

Laze can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, CNN reported.

"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows," the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote on its website.

Officials have told people to avoid areas where lava meets the ocean, CNN reported.

Powerful eruptions accompanied by thunderous booms punctuated the air Friday around Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The volcano spewed lava bombs the size of cows as molten rock flowed from several of the 22 fissures that have opened around the volcano. 

Update 2 a.m. EDT May 19: Fast-moving lava isolated about 40 homes in a rural subdivision, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters, the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, police, firefighters and National Guard troops were stopping people from entering the area.

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT May 18: Hawaiian authorities have sent the National Guard, police and fire units into the East Rift Zone in Puna, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency.

“There are approximately 40 homes in the area that are isolated. Officials are gaining access by helicopter to the area to assess how many people are there and if they need assistance. All persons in that area are asked to stay where they are and wait for further instructions,” the agency said on its website.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has confirmed another fissure opened on Friday, bringing the total number of fissures to 22. 

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Update 8:30 a.m. EDT May 18:  More lava is spewing 

from the Kilauea volcano as the 21st fissure opened Thursday, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, state officials have been handing out masks to protect people who live near Kilauea, ABC News reported. About 18,000 masks have been distributed, CNN reported. The safety measure protects residents from breathing in pieces of rock, glass and crystals that fall as the volcano continues to erupt, ABC News reported.

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 17: Lava is erupting from points along the fissure system on Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the agency is calling it a “low-level eruption” at this point. 

Although lava is still spattering from Fissure 17, the flow has not advanced significantly over the past day, the USGS said.

There are currently 18 fissures that have opened due to seismic activity on Kilauea’ over the past two weeks. 

Volcanic gas emission are still elevated throughout the area and residents are urged to remain on alert. 

“This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area,” the USGS reported late Thursday

Rain on the Big Island Thursday helped the situation with the ashfall, but volcano experts are warning the situation on Kilauea is  still very dynamic.

Original report: Several schools were closed as ash continued to fall Thursday due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels. Officials warned people in the area to take shelter and protect themselves from the falling ash.

>> Here's how to help victims of Hawaii volcano, earthquakes

"The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area," officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a 5 a.m. alert. In a subsequent update, USGS officials said the ash plume was moving to the northeast.

The plume could be seen in an image taken from a webcam at the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves," the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned.

Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the situation remained “very, very active and very dynamic,” on Thursday.

“The potential for larger explosions is still there,” she said.

Officials with the USGS warned Tuesday that an eruption of Kilauea's volcano appeared "imminent."

>> Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’

The eruption on Kilauea began May 3. It has since forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures -- including dozens of homes -- and created more than two dozen fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

  Photos: Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption
  Hawaii volcano eruptions: Kilauea spawns 18th fissure
  Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: How to help the victims
  Missing dogs found stuck between lava and fence, rescued
  Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’ 
  Kilauea eruption: As many as 700 homes destroyed on Hawaii's Big Island

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