Evacuation of the Vacationland development and adjacent Kapoho community, rebuilt after a destructive eruption of Kilauea in 1960, came on the 28th day of what geologists rank as one of the biggest upheavals in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes. Since then, emergency officials believe almost 2,500 residents have been forced to evacuate as lava continues to flow, consuming everything in its path.
"You are at risk of being isolated due to possible lava inundation", the Hawaii County Civil Defence agency advised the public.
Kilauea's main crater at the volcano's summit has continued to periodically belch ash high up into the sky.
"Hawaii County Civil Defence made a decision to evacuate all of lower Puna to ensure that people would be able to get out", Stovall said.
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"Persons in violation of this order are subject to arrest and will be liable for any costs associated with rescue operations in the mandatory evacuation area", the county said on its website.
On Wednesday, Fissure 8 fueled a river of lava that traveled nearly a half-mile in 80 minutes, according to the Civil Defense Agency.
Ormat Technologies, a Nevada company that owns the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, said it could not assess the extent of the damage to the wells.
"The impact of this is absolutely devastating", CNN correspondent Scott McLean reported from the scene as hot lava poured into the ocean. Lava from another fissure was about 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) above the intersection and was advancing in pauses and surges of about 600 yards (548.64 meters) per hour, scientists said.
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The risky fibers - named after Hawaiian fire and volcano goddess Pele - are produced when lava splatter droplets cools rapidly in the air and can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.
Fast-moving lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano forced officials to close part of a highway on Tuesday, and they warned that sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers carried by the wind could injure eyes and lungs.
Although the haze does not contain sulfur dioxide or other toxic chemicals, a NWS official told NPR the particles in the air can still be harmful to people with sensitive respiratory systems.
Video and images shared by the agencies showed massive yellow bulldozers breaking up the black rock, which is 20 to 30 feet thick in some spots.
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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that vigorous lava eruptions continue in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. Hawaii Electric Light said in a news release that it wouldn't begin working to restore power until it was safe for workers to enter the areas to do a damage assessment.