Hawaii on 'Red Alert' After Huge Ash Cloud Bursts From Kilauea Volcano

State scrambles to reopen Lower Puna highway as lava threatens another key escape route

State scrambles to reopen Lower Puna highway as lava threatens another key escape route

It says people may be unable to breathe if exposed. The latest fissure is by the Lanipuna Gardens.

Authorities recommend leaving the area and seeking medical attention if severely affected.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed since eruptions began 10 days ago and officials have ordered the evacuations of almost 2,000 residents in the lower Puna district of the Big Island, home to around 187,000 people.

"So far those explosions have not occurred and I think the key here is that the vent system is an open one, therefore pressure is not being built or developed down at the top of the lava column", Brantley told a conference call.

Those living nearby said it continues to hurl 45kg chunks of lava and rock into the air while spewing smoke and steam and emitting a near-constant roar.

Bookings for tours and activities on the island are down 50 percent compared to past years, and the island's tourism board estimates about $5 million worth of cancellations from May through July, The Associated Press reported.

The volcano has been erupting for 10 days, and more than 2000 residents have already been evacuated, the Daily Mail reports.

Tourism on the island brought in $2.5 billion in revenue previous year. No deaths or major injuries have been reported since Kilauea, which has been in a state of almost constant eruption since 1983, began a series of major explosions early this month.

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Authorities have issued an ashfall advisory for the island's southernmost district until 6 p.m.

Since Kilauea began erupting on May 3, almost 2,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as 18 giant fissures ripped through the area, including two new ones that opened on Sunday with ear-piercing screeches that sent lava and rocks flying. Lava from another fissure that opened over the weekend is making a path for the ocean, about two miles away. There are no homes or roads threatened at this time.

Kilauea began erupting on May 3.

Few insurance companies will issue policies for homes in Leilani Estates because it is in an area deemed by the US Geological Survey to have a high risk of lava.

What scientists have dubbed "vog" - a combination of volcanic gas and ash reached 12,000 feet into the sky above Kilauea - one of the world's most active volcanoes.

Rockfalls and explosions at the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano shot ash into the air on Tuesday as residents for the first time in the 12-day eruption got text messages from county officials warning them the ash could cause eye and breathing irritation.

The county issued a Condition Red alert warning people that the sulfur dioxide gasses being released pose an immediate danger to public health.

The eruption has destroyed 25 homes and covered 115 acres in lava.

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