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Hawai‘i Volcanic Eruption Update: Mandatory Evacuations, Closures

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*VIDEO: VO: by Wendy Osher; VC: US Geological Survey.

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This map shows the locations, mapped by USGS-HVO scientists, of the three eruptive fissures in the order that they occurred in the Leilani Estates Subdivision as of 8:00 a.m. HST today (May 4). The fissures are jetting copious amounts of sulfur dioxide gas, which should be avoided. Spatter is also being emitted, but lava flows are not extending far from the active fissures. The eruption remains dynamic, which means that changes could occur with little notice. Updated maps will be posted on this webpage as new information becomes available. Eruption updates are posted on HVO’s website at — or you can sign up to receive automatic update messages through the USGS Volcano Notification Service at USGS-HVO scientists continue to closely monitor the volcanic activity on Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone.
PC: US Geological Survey

*Update: 8:15 a.m. 5.4.18: Police are advising that all of the Leilani Subdivision is now closed. There is no entry permitted due to hazardous air quality and unstable lava conditions. At 6:40 a.m., police issued an advisory urging the public to AVOID Leilani Avenue in Leilani Estates due to cracks forming across of Leilani Avenue.

Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense has called for the mandatory evacuation of all residents in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions on Hawaiʻi Island as a result of a volcanic eruption that started Thursday afternoon, May 3, 2018.

Active volcanic vents are located on Makamae, Kaupili and Mohala Streets. A new vent has opened near the intersection of Leilani Avenue and Kahukai Road. There is no activity at Puna Geothermal Venture at this time. PGV is secured.


Overnight active volcanic vents erupted on Makamae and Mohala Streets resulting in steam and lava emissions.


The Hawaiʻi Fire Department reports extremely high levels of dangerous Sulfur Dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.

Kua O Ka Lā Charter School, Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Science, Keonepoko Elementary and Pāhoa High, Intermediate, and Elementary will be closed today.

Effective immediately, the DLNR Division of State Parks has closed its Lava Tree State Monument and Mackenzie State Recreation Area until further notice.  Gates to these parks will be locked and closure signs posted.  This action was taken after consultation with Hawaiʻi County Emergency  and Parks and Recreation which recommended the closures due to earthquake activity in the Puna area.


As of Thursday evening, an estimated 1,700 residents were evacuated from the Leilani Estates subdivision, which consists of about 770 structures.

The Pāhoa and Kea’au Community Centers are open for shelter.  As of midnight, there were 63 residents at the Pāhoa Community Center and 3 residents at the Kea’au Community Center.  Residents evacuating should bring an emergency evacuation supply kit including necessary medicine, food, and necessary items for your comfort if possible.  The Red Cross recommends that people prepare their emergency kits for 14 days and bring their emergency supplies with them to shelters. Full details about what the kit should contain are available in a list below.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department reminds the public that a temporary flight restriction is in place for most of lower Puna and that drones can be confiscated.

Pohoiki Road is closed from the intersection at Highway 132 down to Highway 137 to allow evacuation efforts to proceed.  Puna Geothermal Venture power production is also suspended until further notice.

Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, Police, Fire and partners continue to assist evacuation efforts and monitor the situation along with personnel assistance from the National Guard.

Red Cross List of Recommended items in Evacuation Kits:

Water – 1 gallon per person per day
Food – non-perishable
Radio -NOAA Weather Radio
Extra batteries
First aid kit
Medications & Medical items
Manual Can opener
Multi-purpose tool
Personal hygiene items
Copies of Documents (prescriptions, proof of address, deed/lease to home, insurance policies and proof of identity
Cell phone with chargers
Family Contact Information
Change of clothes

You may also need:

Baby supplies – bottles, baby food & diapers
Games and activities
Comfort items
Pet supplies – collar, leash, ID, food, water, carrier, bowl & medications

At 10:31 a.m. HST on Thursday, May 3, 2018, while HVO geologists were working on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, a magnitude-5.0 earthquake shook the ground around the cone. Moments later, a collapse occurred in the crater of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, creating a robust, reddish-brown ash plume. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

A new lava fissure commenced around 1 a.m. HST 5.4.18 on Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone on Makamae and Leilani Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Spatter was being thrown roughly 30 m (about 100 ft) high at the time of this photo. Copious amounts of sulfur dioxide gas, which should be avoided, is emitted from active fissures. The eruption is dynamic and changes could occur with little warning. PC: 5.4.18 courtesy US Geological Survey.

Steaming cracks at 5:57 a.m. HST in Leilani Estates subdivision, moments before a fissure opened up on Kaupili Street. PC: 5.4.18, US Geological Survey.

Areas downslope of the erupting vent are at risk of lava inundation. At this time, the general area of the Leilani Estates subdivision appears at greatest risk. Hawai‘i County Civil Defense is on scene and coordinating needed responses, including evacuation of the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic. Additional vents and new lava outbreaks may occur. The fissure in Leilani Estates (as of 6:00 p.m.) was about 150 m (164 yards) long. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

A view of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō from the east, shortly after a small collapse. The coating of red ash on the south side of the cone (left side of photo) is evident. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

An eruption commenced in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano. White, hot vapor and blue fume emanated from an area of cracking in the eastern part of the subdivision. Spatter began erupting shortly before 5 p.m. HST on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Lava was confirmed at the surface in the eastern end of the subdivision, in the areas of Mohala and Leilani Streets. According to the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense update at 5:40 p.m. on 5.3.18, all residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivsions are required to evacuate. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Residents of the lower Puna District should remain alert, review individual, family, and business emergency plans, and watch for further information about the status of the volcano. PC: U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

At 10:30 HST, ground shaking from a preliminary magnitude-5.0 earthquake south of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō caused rockfalls and possibly additional collapse into the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. A short-lived plume of ash produced by this event lofted skyward and dissipated as it drifted southwest from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. USGS photo by Kevan Kamibayashi.

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