As if the catastrophic, home-devouring lava weren't bad enough, now residents have to worry about choking on sulfur dioxide. "This is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population".
The National Guard is standing by to help get them out of harm's way.
Smoke and lava erupt from a fissure near a home on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018.
A large explosion in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could lead to an explosive eruption and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air in the coming weeks, the US Geological Survey (USGA) said on Wednesday.
CNN's Stephanie Elam said her heart started pounding as she approached one fissure.
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"There was a really thick layer of dust on our cars, and on our decks, and such so you can see and feel it", she said.
High levels of sulfur dioxide gas are "especially dangerous" for the elderly, children and people with respiratory problems, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. The number of structures destroyed is at least 37. and counting. There is no indication of when the eruption might stop, or how far the lava might spread.
The US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the flow from the crack that emerged Sunday was heading on a path that would take it to the ocean, about three kilometres away. The intense heat may cause that water to boil and result in eruptions. Since May 2, the lava lake in the crater began to drop, which increases the chances for a phreatic explosion.
As part of Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, the state's emergency management division is hosting a Reddit AMA from 1-3 p.m. Volcanologists from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory will join emergency-preparedness managers to discuss all things volcanic, from the local threat of volcanic mudflows, called lahars, to the differences between the Pacific Northwest's more explosive, cone-shaped volcanoes and the low-slung shield volcanoes that form the Hawaiian archipelago.
Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, watched from a police checkpoint as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees.
The volcano has been in a state of almost constant eruption for 24 years.