Hawaii County Civil Defense has confirmed the number of active volcanic fissures around Leilani Estates has risen to 12.
Two additional fissures have opened south of Malama Street Monday afternoon, while the number of residential structures destroyed remains at 35.
While the Puna Geothermal Venture remains secure, nearly 60,000 gallons of the highly flammable liquid pentane will be transported offsite. Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, said Gov. David Ige confirmed the decision to move the substance Monday afternoon.
A county spokesperson said the pentane could not be moved immediately after the initial eruption because PGV required proper containers — which had to be shipped from off the island — to securely transport the volatile substance.
Meanwhile, additional cracks have begun to open on roads surrounding Leilani Estates. Several cracks approximately 4 inches wide have opened on Highway 130 between at the 14.4 and 14.6 mile markers. The highway has been closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation is working to prepare an alternate route in Puna should the eruption disrupt Keaau-Pahoa Road north of Leilani Estates. Such a route will likely involve the unpaved section of Highway 137 that runs north of Highway 132 to Hawaii Paradise Park.
Residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are still permitted to return to their subdivisions to check on their property each day between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. if conditions are favorable. Such returners are required to heed the instructions of on-scene authorities and be prepared to leave the area immediately if necessary.
While the eruption has disrupted water services to areas east of Leilani Estates, the Department of Water Supply will establish a temporary bypass water line to restore water services to Kapoho, Pohoiki and Vacationland. In the meantime, a water truck for public use will be stationed at the Vacationland mailboxes.
Meanwhile, Hawaii Electric Light Co. warns residents to treat all downed power lines as potentially live. HELCO is working to keep power online.
Civil Defense has advised non-residents to stay out of the area and refrain from sightseeing. Under emergency provisions, any looting or vandalism will be treated as a felony.
The Tribune-Herald will update as needed.