Watch LIVE Kilauea crater as thousands evacuate

Watch LIVE Kilauea crater as thousands evacuate

In addition, two of the wells at the geothermal plant were overtaken by lava, but there were no emissions of hydrogen sulfide.

Since the first eruption occurred in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the evening of Thursday, May 3, emergency officials believe almost 2,500 residents have been forced to evacuate as lava, flowing from numerous volcanic fissures, consumes everything in its path.

Scientists believe that volcanic activity can be a precursor to a major eruption, similar to the Kilauea eruption in the mid-1920s.

"This is the hottest lava that we've seen in this eruption, even just a matter of 50 degrees centigrade makes a big difference in how quickly lava flows can move and how they behave once the magma exits the vent", Stovall said.

"Hawaii County Civil Defense made a decision to evacuate all of lower Puna to ensure that people would be able to get out", Stovall said.

Hawaii County officials said lava destroyed the local electric utility's equipment on the highway, which knocked out power to Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots neighborhoods toward the coast.

The area covers part of Leilani Avenue and the residential streets running adjacent to it as the Hawaii County Civil Defence Agency told residents they are on watch "24 hours a day for your safety".

As of Friday, lava has destroyed 82 structures, including 37 homes.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

The US Geological Survey said the lava from the Kilauea volcano has covered an area of 5.5 square miles - that's four times as big as New York's Central Park. That lava flow has stopped on the property so there is no risk, for now, to the other nine wells.

Some feared a breach if lava penetrated the well shafts that tap steam and hot water to make electricity. Wind conditions for Wednesday were forecast to result in widespread vog - or volcanic smog- over the Big Island.

The risky fibers - named after Hawaiian fire and volcano goddess Pele - are produced when lava splatter droplets cools rapidly in the air and can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

Kilauea's main crater at the volcano's summit has continued to periodically belch ash high up into the sky.

Nevertheless, some ash and fumes have been spouted high enough into the atmosphere to be carried far over the Pacific Ocean, with observers in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Guam detecting traces of vog - a hazy mix of sulphur dioxide, aerosols, moisture and fine particles, Birchard said. PGV has been the target of lawsuits challenging its location on the flank of one of the world's most active volcanoes.

Molten rock trapped at least one person who was rescued by authorities.

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