National News

USGS: Lava is spattering, other outbreaks likely

Posted May 4, 2018 8:36 p.m. EDT

— Homes destroyed and mandatory evacuations underway as lava erupts in the lower Puna area of the Big Island.

Lava is erupting right now in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna gardens subdivisions. At least two homes were surrounded by lava, and dangerous levels of sulfur have been detected. Residents in those areas need to evacuate immediately.

Drone video footage shows lava pouring into the neighborhood, and burning through the trees. The U.S. Geological Survey says right now lava is spattering, and that other outbreaks are likely.

Police, fire and the National Guard have been working non-stop to help people evacuate.

Those who still need to evacuate, if possible, civil defense says to quickly pack an emergency evacuation supply kit with medicine and food. The Red Cross has set up emergency shelters at the Pahoa and Kea'au Community Centers.

"They're waking up to the fact that, during the night, the sirens had to be sounded again, a localized siren, to tell them the danger has increased because of the sulfur fumes. We have to be very aware that it's not just the lava, it's the fumes, the runaway fire, any kind of exposure caused by lava," said Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.

Do not travel or fly drones in the evacuation areas.

Geologists say more eruptions are likely, but because lava is unpredictable, there's no telling where the next one will be. Anyone living along the highlighted east rift zone of the volcano is at risk. Make sure you have an emergency kit ready to go with food and medicine and be prepared to evacuate at any moment.