Lava erupts from fourth vent in Leilani Estates

  • Drone footage shows lava spilling from a fissure Thursday evening into the woods and onto roadways in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna. Screenshot of Facebook video by Jeremiah Osuna.
  • This map shows the location of the first three volcanic vents to open as part of Leilani Estates eruption. A fourth vent has opened between vents 1 and 3, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Courtesy of USGS.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says a fourth volcanic vent has opened in Leilani Estates.

Janet Babb, HVO spokeswoman, said the fissure is located near three others in the lower part of the subdivisions. She said only the fourth vent was active as of 11 a.m.

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The fissures involve mostly vigorous spattering and lava has yet to travel more than tens of yards from the vents.

Babb said the vents are shooting lava 60 to 100 feet high. She described them as having a “low-infusion rate.”

Ground deformation and earthquake activity remains consistent, signalling more vents are likely to open.

“This is a completely dynamic situation, and changes can occur or could occur with little warning,” Babb said.

According to Civil Defense, the first three fissures are located on Makamae, Kaupili and Mohala streets in the lower portion of the subdivision. At least two homes have been destroyed so far.

The fourth fissure is located in the vicinity of Mohala and Kaupili streets, Babb said.

All residents of Leilani and Lanipuna Gardens are told to evacuate. No one is allowed back in the subdivisions. Shelters are open at the Pahoa and Keaau community centers.

“Residents must not attempt to go back to their homes at this time,” Civil Defense said in a press release. “If you refuse to evacuate, first responders may not be able to come to your aid because it is not safe.”

Pets are allowed at both shelters if crated. As of Friday morning, there were 208 people at the Pahoa shelter and 15 at the Keaau shelter. There is room for more.

Hawaii County is providing food and cots, said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office.

The vents are preceded by ground cracking and strong gas emissions. Meanwhile, the lava lake continues to drop at Kilauea’s summit, HVO said.

At least 28 cracks have been identified around Leilani.

Hawaii County Police warned that ground cracks were seen on Leilani Avenue and that people should avoid that area.

Hawaii Fire Department says there are “extremely high” levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.

The first fissure opened on Mohala Street on Thursday afternoon and extended 150 to 200 yards by the evening.

Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Highway 137 to allow evacuation efforts to proceed.

Due to the eruption, Kua O Ka La Charter School, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, Keonepoko Elementary School, and all Pahoa schools are closed.

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Puna Geothermal Venture shut down Thursday following the eruption.

A temporary flight restriction is in place. Drones can be confiscated.