PAHOA (Hawaii) • Nearly 2,000 people on Hawaii's Big Island have been evacuated from their homes after lava eruptions destroyed five houses and harmful sulphur dioxide gas posed a danger to residents.
A new fissure spewed lava about 70m into the air and there were new cracks on a highway in the Leilani Estates area, about 19km from the Kilauea volcano, which erupted last Thursday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement on Saturday.
The south-east corner of the island was rocked by a magnitude 6.9 tremor last Friday - the strongest since 1975. More earthquakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.
About 1,500 homes have been evacuated in a small rural area on the island since fissures began spewing steam, lava and sulphur dioxide, which can be lethal at high levels, said the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported.
"Those remaining in Leilani, Lanipuna Gardens, and Pohoiki Road need to prepare to leave because if the winds change, you could be gassed," Hawaii County Council member Eileen O'Hara said in a Facebook post.
For the rest of the island, it was business as usual, with no impact to flights to tourism centres, state officials said.
"The area where lava is coming to the surface is very far from resort areas," said Hawaii Tourism Authority president and chief executive George Szigeti.
Ms Petra Wiesenbauer, owner of Hale Moana Hawaii Bed and Breakfast, evacuated the area last Friday with her two teenage children and pets. She said: "Now, we are just trying to make plans for the future. There is no telling when or if we'll ever be able to go back in."