HONOLULU - Fast-moving lava is flowing to another part of a rural Big Island district where Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is erupting, officials said Wednesday in advising those residents to evacuate.
Lava continues to advance toward subdivisions such as Vacationland were being advised to evacuate, the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency said.
"You are at risk of being isolated due to possible lava inundation,'' the agency advised the public, referring to the area where two highways intersect.
Lava crossed a highway that connects the commercial center with smaller towns and farms in the area, authorities said Tuesday. Hawaii County officials said lava destroyed the local electric utility's equipment on the highway, which knocked out power to Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots neighborhoods toward the coast.
Officials ordered about 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates neighborhood and nearby areas to evacuate when fissures began opening in the communities earlier this month.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said vigorous eruption continues from the series of vents.
Lava from one fissure created fountains Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning that reached over 200 feet (61 meters). The fountains fed a lava flow that moved downslope along Highway 132, the observatory said.
The flow moved north of the highway and was headed to the area where Highway 132 and Highway 137 intersect.
Aerial observations from the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday morning showed lava from a fissure within 0.65 miles (1.04 kilometers) of Highway 137 and was advancing at about 100 yards (91.44 meters) per hour. 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.
Strands of volcanic glass, known as Pele's hair named for the Hawaiian volcano goddess, were accumulating on the ground in Leilani Estates, and winds may blow lighter particles farther away, scientists said.
Volcanic gas emissions remain high from the fissure eruptions, scientists said. Wind conditions for Wednesday were forecast to result in widespread vog, or volcanic smog, over the Big Island.