Hawaii orders fresh evacuations amid fast-moving lava

Lava advances from Fissure 7 in the Leilani Estates, where the Hawai'i County Civil Defense ordered new evacuations Sunday. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

May 28 (UPI) — The Hawai’i County Civil Defense ordered fresh evacuations in the Leilani Estates after a fast-moving lava flow began moving through the area.

The agency issued the order late Sunday after a lava pond from Fissure 7 breached, creating the lava flow. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory described the eruption from the East Rift Zone as “vigorous.”

“Several residents were evacuated in advance of the dangerous and fast-moving flows,” the HVO said.

Civil defense officials said lava breached property belonging to the Puna Geotherma Venture, a geothermal power plant on Hawai’i Island — also known as the Big Island. PGV plugged up its wells as the lava neared last week as a precaution.

“Lava flow from Fissures 7 and 21 crossed into PGV property overnight and has now covered one well that was successfully plugged,” the civil defense said. “That well, along with a second well 100 feet away, are stable and secured, and are being monitored. Also due to preventative measures, neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide.”

The volcano in the southeastern region of Hawai’i Island began erupting more than three weeks ago, first with plumes of pink smoke and lava vents. More fissures opened in the ensuing days and lava flows in residential areas damaged or destroyed at least 40 structures, more than 20 of which are residences.

Last weekend, a man sustained the first injury related to the volcano after a “lava bomb” struck his leg as he stood on the porch of a home near a fissure.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here