PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — The Latest on a volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii (all times local):
Officials on Hawaii’s Big Island say what started out as a small spattering of lava from the ground only took minutes to become cascading fountains.
U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall says lava fountains spewed as high as 230 feet (70 meters) into the air Saturday night only 15 minutes after the initial eruption from a new fissure.
Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder says only one fissure has active lava flowing, though at last count a total of nine vents had opened up as of 9:30 p.m.
Snyder says it’s all part of a little chain of events and that these “breakouts” are following a path.
She says the plan remains to allow some evacuated residents to return to Leilani Estates to retrieve important items, though that is subject to change.
Officials in Hawaii now say nine homes have been destroyed by lava flowing from Kilauea volcano.
Big Island civil defense officials also said Sunday morning two new fissures, or vents where lava has broken through the ground, have emerged in the Leilani Estates subdivision.
That brings the total of fissures to 10 since the eruption began late Thursday afternoon, but a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey says one of those vents has gone dormant.
Officials say active venting of lava and dangerous levels of volcanic gases continue between two main roads in the subdivision, where more than 1,700 people have been ordered to evacuate.
Officials say some residents will be allowed to complete evacuation of pets, get medicine and grab vital documents.
The number of homes destroyed by lava bursting out of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has climbed to five.
The figure rose as many evacuees prepared for the eruption to last for weeks or even months.
The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said eight volcanic vents opened in the Big Island residential neighborhood of Leilani Estates since Thursday. The vents initially spewed lava but had calmed down by late Saturday and were only releasing steam and gas.
Scientists say Kilauea is likely to release more lava through more vents, but they’re unable to forecast exactly where the lava will appear.
The Leilani Estates area is at the greatest risk for more lava outbreaks.
Hawaii County has ordered more than 1,700 people to evacuate Leilani Estates and neighboring Lanipuna Gardens.