Lava Flow Cuts Off Access To More Big Island Neighborhoods

Hawaii volcano update

Authorities say the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has destroyed at least 117 homes.

The lava flow left Kapoho and the adjacent development of Vacationland cut off from the rest of the island by road, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency.

The agency said there was no access along Highway 132 and Highway 137. They stopped to inquire of their situation, and then when asked, airlifted them to a safe place.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area.

An estimated 500 people live in the greater Kapoho area, but Snyder said it was not immediately clear how many residents, if any, chose to stay behind. "Period", county spokeswoman Janet Snyder said.

Those in Kapoho - including the Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland communities - also were ordered out because of the risk of getting trapped by the lava.

Lava burned two buildings at the plant, a substation and a warehouse that stored a drilling rig on the property, officials said.

A moderate quake struck the summit of Kilauea Volcano this morning but does not pose a tsunami threat.

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This combines a toxic steam, known as laze - combining the words lava and haze - and contains tiny particles of volcanic gas.

In its report, the US Air Force said: "Modern aerial bombing has a substantial probability of success for diversion of lava from most expected types of eruptions on Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone, if Hilo is threatened and if Air Force assistance is requested".

UPDATE (8:20 a.m.) - The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's 6:30 a.m. HST overflight "confirmed that lava completely fills Kapoho Bay, extending 0.7 miles from the former coastline", scientists reported this morning.

At the same time, most of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the island's biggest tourist attractions, remains closed indefinitely due to hazards from ash and volcanic rock ejected from the summit crater, and accompanying earthquakes that have damaged park facilities.

Although volcanic activity has only affected a small amount of forest area, authorities are concerned the wildlife unique to the region may be in danger.

Lava erupts in May from a fissure in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood.

Kilauea, standing at 4,091 ft (1,247 metres) tall, has now been erupting for 34 days in a row, the longest since 1955.

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