Lava and toxic gases continued to spew in neighborhoods from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Sunday, with nine homes destroyed since the eruption began on Thursday and authorities ordering evacuations of 1,800 people.
A tweet on Sunday from the U.S. Geological Survey showed a lava fountain shooting 230 feet into the air in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the island’s east.
Authorities were warning people to be on alert for elevated levels of sulfur dioxide and continued volcanic eruption.
The two rural areas ordered for evacuation, Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, sit at the eastern base of the volcano, which erupted Thursday, belching lava, damaging buildings and forcing residents to flee their homes. Hundreds of quakes had shaken the island for days when a magnitude-6.9 earthquake hit on Friday, Hawaii’s largest in more than four decades.
On Sunday, officials were planning to let Leilani Estates residents pass a checkpoint to briefly return home to finish evacuating pets and retrieving medicine and vital documents. But authorities warned that could change if conditions worsen.
“We want them to be safe,” said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the county of Hawaii’s Mayor’s Office. “We’re not going to let them in if we’re not sure they’re going to be safe.”