UPDATE: 2:15 p.m.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms a new, 15th fissure near the entrance of the Lanipuna subdivision is actively erupting. Officials are on site assessing the situation. Hazardous fumes continue to be released, they said.
As of 2 p.m., there are 15 fissures, 116.57 acres covered by lava and 36 structures destroyed, including 27 houses.
There are no threats to Nanawale Estates at this time, officials said.
The Hawaii National Guard will be increasing their patrol of Leilani Estates.
An additional 20 National Guardsmen will be assigned to the subdivision, bringing their complement to 95. The Guard says this is in response to community demand for more security following an evacuation order by Hawaii County Civil Defense.
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>> Photos from Leilani Estates as lava advances: https://808ne.ws/2whJ2GZ
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Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira reports there was a burglary in the evacuation area.
Both of the new vents in Leilani Estates, number 13 and 14, have paused but continue to release noxious gases.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials say lava has covered 104 acres so far, while 36 structures, mostly homes, have been destroyed.
Leilani Estates residents will be allowed back into their subdivision from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, until further notice and conditions permitting, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense. However, Lanipuna Gardens residents are still barred from entering the area due to the high level of dangerous volcanic gases.
Highway 130 is closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road while Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Hinalo Street.
Geologists reported “loud jetting and booming sounds,” and some lava spattering, at vent number 13 late Tuesday evening, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.
Earthquake activity increased during the formation of the newest vents, but otherwise remained at a lower but regular rate throughout the day. At the summit of Kilauea Volcano, however, earthquake activity is elevated and the lava lake level continues to fall.
TUESDAY, MAY 8
HILO >> Activity at two new vents have paused but they continue to release hazardous gases.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirmed the two new vents earlier today, raising the total to 14. Vent number 13 is near the intersection of Leilani Avenue and Kahukai Road. Vent number 14 is near Kaupili Street and Leilani Avenue.
Officials are restricting access to Lanipuna Gardens. Residents of that subdivision were told to evacuate today.
HILO >> Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Talmadge Magno said that residents of the tiny lower Puna community of Lanipuna Gardens were still evacuating as of 3:30 p.m.
One 88-year-old resident who had no transportation was evacuated by Hawaii County firefighters, he said.
The roughly 300 residents of the subdivision — like those of the larger, nearby Leilani Estates — have been under an evacuation order since the Kilauea volcano lava outbreaks started Thursday evening.
But, Magno said today, “I think a lot of people came back” to Lanipuna. He estimated that there were possibly about 15 residents remaining as of 3:30 p.m. With Pohiki Road closed, they have been told to head toward the ocean, which will be a much longer evacuation route.
Unlike Leilani Estate residents, who have been allowed to temporarily return to their homes Monday and today to retrieve pets and essential items, evacuated Lanipuna residents were forbidden from returning because of hazardous volcanic gases.
Magno said Leilani Estates had been the main priority of authorities, but that conditions changed this afternoon, putting Lanipuna Gardens in greater peril.
The lava outbreak toll stands at 27 homes and a total of 37 structures destroyed, and 14 confirmed vents. Scientists have observed a possible 15th vent near No. 14 but authorities are unsure if it is a new fissure or an expansion of No. 14.
HILO >> Hawaii County Civil Defense issued the following urgent evacuation order:
“EVACUATION – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms 2 new vents. All Lanipuna residents must evacuate now. Evacuate towards the ocean Isaac Hale Beach Park. Vent number 13 has opened near the intersection of Leilani Avenue and Kahukai Road and Vent number 14 near Kaupili St. and Leilani Avenue. Both are actively erupting. Hazardous fumes continue to be released.”
Gov. David Ige and Brigadier General Kenneth S. Hara, deputy adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, hurriedly returned to Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters soon after news of the latest lava flows broke.
HILO >> Hawaii County Civil Defense said this afternoon that two more fissures have opened up in Leilani Estates and another home has been confirmed destroyed, bringing the total to 27 in the lower Puna neighborhood.
Civil Defense also ordered all remaining residents in nearby Lanipuna Gardens to evacuate immediately.
Officials said the two new vents, No. 13 and 14, opened shortly before 1 p.m. No. 13 opened at Leilani Avenue nad Kahukai Street, almost directly under a home, which it quickly burned down before the lava stopped. Vent No. 14 at Kaupili Street is spewing gas, but Civil Defense officials were unsure if it was producing lava.
One of the fissures fizzled out, but the other put out enough lava to burn a 27th home in Leilani Estates. The new vents are near Pohiki Road, which is now closed at Highway 132.
The lava resumed flowing after a nearly day-long pause that allowed residents to return Monday and today to retrieve pets and other items.
HILO >> Evacuees from Leilani Estates are again taking advantage in a pause in the eruptive activity today to return to the lava-inundated neighborhood to check on their homes and retrieve belongings.
As of 7 a.m., Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said, lava was not flowing from the 12 fissures that have been confirmed in the lower Puna community on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone.
The “pause” began Monday afternoon and continued today.
But, HVO officials stressed, “This pause is likely temporary and resumption of lava emission or additional fissure outbreaks are possible at any time.” Fluctuating and intermittent eruptive activity is likely to continue in the lower East Rift Zone, they said. The fissure system is now 2.5 miles long and continues to emit dangerous volcanic gas, scientists warn.
At mid-morning, Hawaii County Civil Defense said the lava outbreak that began Thursday evening has covered 104 acres in the Leilani Estates, but the number of structures destroyed remains at 35 from Monday morning. At least 26 of those structures are confirmed to be homes, officials have said.
But because of the lava flow ‘pause,’ Leilani Estates residents are being allowed to check on their property and retrieve belongings from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, until further notice and conditions permitting. Access for residents of nearby Lanipuna Gardens continues to be forbidden due to dangerous volcanic gases.
Civil Defense officials also said today that:
>> Highway 130 remains closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road, and Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Hinalo Street.
>> Civil Defense has established the Recovery Information and Assistance Center in Pahoa at the Sacred Hearts Church in Pahoa, which will be opened Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
<< Puna Geothermal Venture reports no activity at this time although the facility is closed and secured. Officials are working on removing flammable liquids from the PGV site.
Gov. David Ige said today that he believes the damage done in Puna may have already met the $2 million threshold for the federal government to declare a major disaster on the Big Island. Ige met with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials this morning at the Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters.
The American Red Cross, meanwhile, said nearly 200 people at the Pahoa Community Center and 15 people were at the Keaau Community Center shelters as of midnight Monday. About 50 Red Cross volunteers have been assisting evacuees with emergency needs.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporters Dan Nakaso, Kevin Dayton and Rosemarie Bernardo contributed to this report.