4 May 2018

Volcanic activity forces evacuations in Hawaii

7:13 pm on 4 May 2018

The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has come to life, belching ash into the sky and spewing fountains of lava in a residential area where people were ordered to leave their homes.

Photo taken in Kalapana, courtesy of NPS Volunteer Janice Wei.

Photo taken in Kalapana, courtesy of NPS Volunteer Janice Wei. Photo: Janice Wei /Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

The eruption occurred after a series of earthquakes on the island over the last couple of days, including a 5.0 tremor, the US Geological Survey reported on its website.

Residents in the Puna community, home to about 10,000 people, were ordered to evacuate after public works officials reported steam and lava emissions from a crack, according to media and the County's Civil Defense Agency.

Resident Ikaika Marzo told Hawaii News Now that he saw "fountains" of lava as high as 125 feet (38m).

Governor David Ige said on Twitter that he activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide help in the county's emergency response.

"Please be alert and prepare now to keep your family safe," he said.

A plume of red ash rose from the volcano's Pu'u 'O'o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano, one of five on the island, have buried 48 square miles (125km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.