Toxic Gas Alert for Hawaiian Volcanic Eruption

Clay Curtis
May 15, 2018

Since Kilauea began erupting on May 3, almost 2,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as 18 giant fissures ripped through the area, including two new ones that opened on Sunday with ear-piercing screeches that sent lava and rocks flying.

Carol Hosley, the owner of the dogs named Brus and Little Dude, was evacuating from her apartment in Leilani Estates when the two dogs ran off in fear, Hawaii News Now reported. An 18th fissure also opened over the weekend, but since no lava was seen spewing from it, the authorities only documented the 17 active fissures.

Steaming cracks along one of the area's main routes, Highway 132, have raised concerns a new fissure may develop there, which would imperil access for 2,000 people on the east of the island.

A new volcanic fissure on Hawaii's Big Island sent gases and lava exploding into the air, prompting officials to issue calls for more evacuations as residents awaited a possible major eruption at Kilauea volcano's summit.

The body said: "This morning, activity is dominated by lava fountaining, explosion of spatter more than 100 feet into the air and an advancing lava flow from fissure 17 at the northeast end of the fissure system".

The Honolulu County Mayor's office, which oversees Puna, said on Sunday that lava eruptions had destroyed 37 structures.

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According to CNN, 2,000 people have been evacuated so far, and community centers are being made available to serve shelters for families and their pets.

A 19th fissure opened Monday in Lanipuna Gardens, the area neighboring Leilani Estates, which was hardest hit by quakes and lava flows, the largest in decades from the volcano.

Kilauea, a 4,000-foot-high (1,200-meters) volcano with a lake of lava at its summit is located in the far east of Hawaii's 4,028-square-mile (10,430-square-km) Big Island, which is home to about 200,000 people.

Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, sat near a police checkpoint and watched as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees. "It's like a nuclear reaction or something". The fissure measures about 1,000 feet long, officials said.

"I guess it's just part of living on the island", Ricks said. "In a way it's kind of exciting to see what's going on and be this close to it".

As a precaution, plant workers last week removed 50,000 gallons (189,265 litres) of a flammable liquid stored at the site.

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