PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Police went door-to-door in Hawaii to roust residents near two new vents emitting dangerous gases in areas where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.

Authorities ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave two communities in the mostly rural district of Puna on Hawaii’s Big Island last Thursday. Some ignored the order and stayed to watch over their property.

But on Tuesday, the emergence of the two new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue a cellphone alert ordering stragglers in Lanipuna Gardens to get out immediately. Police followed up with personal visits.

“There were a number of people at their residences,” Talmadge Magno, the administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense, said at a news briefing. There was no sign of holdouts in Lanipuna afterward, he said.

Edwin Montoya, 76, had planned to stay to care for animals and keep looters away from his family’s property in neighboring Leilani Estates. But he was forced to evacuate after the new fissures emerged, including one just a mile away.

“I’m in my truck right now on my way up the road,” he said. “The police came down here and made me.”

Both communities are in a forested, remote part of the Big Island on the eastern flank of Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983. In recent years the volcano has mostly released lava in hard-to-reach areas inside a national park or along the coastline. But last week, vents popped open and released lava, gas and steam inside residential neighborhoods.

There’s no indication when the eruption might stop, or how far the lava might spread.

13th eruption earlier Leilani Estate

After a short period of relative calm, two more lava vents erupted Tuesday on the Big Island, prompting more evacuations.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

There were about 1,700 residents in Leilani Estates and a few hundred in Lanipuna Gardens before last week.

Andrew Nisbet evacuated last week and has no idea what has happened since.

“My home is right in the line of the major breakouts so maybe, maybe not.” he said Monday during a community meeting.

Authorities urged Scott Wiggers to evacuate, but he refused.

“I’m in the safest part in the subdivision. There’s no threat to my house whatsoever,” said Wiggers, a tour guide.

Wiggers said he wasn’t leaving his home on the outskirts of the evacuation zone because he worried that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to get back in. But he’s prepared in case the situation takes a turn.

“I am packed. My truck is loaded. I’m not a dumb-dumb. If I see a threat, I’m out of here,” he said.

First Lt. Aaron Hew Len, of the U.S. National Guard, tests air quality near cracks that are emitting toxic gasses from a lava flow in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Scientists confirm that volcanic activity has paused at all 12 fissures that opened up in a Hawaii community and oozed lava that burned 35 structures. Officials warn that hazardous fumes continue to be released from the cracks in the ground. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

First Lt. Aaron Hew Len, of the U.S. National Guard, tests air quality near cracks that are emitting toxic gasses from a lava flow in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

AP

Officials warn that lava could flow downhill and burn areas that are not currently in danger, and toxic volcanic gas could kill people, especially the elderly and those with breathing problems.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige told evacuees he has called the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to tell officials that he believes the state will need help to deal with the volcano on the Big Island.

There are 14 lava-and-gas producing fissures in Leilani Estates, after the two new ones formed Tuesday. But the flow of lava is not constant.

A total of 36 structures, including 26 confirmed homes, have been destroyed. Aerial surveys cannot make out whether some of the structures are homes or other types of buildings.

Associated Press journalists Caleb Jones and Sophia Yan wrote this report, with contributions from Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and Audrey McAvoy.

Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to news@civilbeat.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. And you can still comment on stories on our Facebook page.

About the Author