Moving lava sparks immediate evacuations in Hawaii

Hawaii volcano eruption

With an active volcanic fissure in the background, the lava flow from the Kilauea eruption is seen from the kitchen window of a home on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, on Sunday.

A series of summit explosions on Saturday spewed ash from Kilauea volcano up to 11,000ft and dusted communities to the south-west, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

The Kilauea volcano on Big Island of Hawaii has been in the news for a couple of months.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said residents should avoid the area due to the increase of volcanic gases and vog emissions in areas downwind of the vents.

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A broad lava flow has crossed onto the property of a Hawaii geothermal power station, posing a new hazard as molten rock from the erupting Kilauea volcano bulldozes relentlessly through homes and backyards.

And on Sunday night, after authorities went door-to-door to urge remaining residents in a portion of Leilani Estates to get out, firefighters scrambled to rescue a man whose driveway was covered by fast-moving lava.

Operator Ormat Technologies Inc last week said there was no above-ground damage to the plant but it would have to wait until the situation stabilised to assess the impact of earthquakes and lava flows.

"Everyone is having symptoms now on some level, " said Dr. Josh Green, a state senator and emergency room physician who has been volunteering in communities where lava fissures have opened in neighborhoods.

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Thousands of residents have been impacted by evacuation orders as lava continues to flow, entering the ocean at three different points as of May 26.

Lava engulfed the heads of two wells that tap into steam and gas deep in the Earth's core at the 38-megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture on Saturday. "Primary concern is sulfur dioxide from the eruption and lava coming on site".

"It's this tide of lava that rises up and overflows itself on the edges and keeps rising and progressing forward", U.S. Geological Survey geologist Wendy Stovall told journalists on a conference call.

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