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Better technology has meant scientists have been able to accurately forecast Kilauea’s behavior as it sputters over Puna.
More than 200 evacuees are staying at a regional recreational center in Pahoa, with some living in tents and vehicles.
The flames are caused by methane, a gas produced when lava buries and burns plants and trees.
“There are many unpredictable things that could happen,” says the head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
A naturally occurring berm has so far halted the flow’s advance, but officials warn if the lava does hit the plant’s underground wells it could trigger the release of poisonous gases.
Update: Other residents in a rural area cut off by new flows from the Kilauea volcano to shelter in place.
A volcano expert says there is no way of knowing whether this is really the beginning or toward the end of the Big Island eruption.