Hawaii Residents Flee Volcano As New Fissure Sends Lava "Several Hundred Feet Into The Air"

New evacuations were ordered in the Puna district of Hawaii's Big Island Sunday after a massive 1,000-foot-long fissure opened on Kilauea volcano, sending bright red rock and magma hundreds of feet into the air with an ominous "jet engine" sound. The fissure was initially thought to be the 18th but was downgraded after the previous one did not spew lava. The new fissure opened up approximately 300 feet from the previous one.

"When I got here today, I actually came up the hill and the first thing that I noticed was I heard what sounded like a jet turbine," said John Davidson, whose residence is located near the 17th fissure. 


36 structures have been destroyed so far by lava from Kilauea, including over 24 homes, covering 116 acres of land. The US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said on Sunday that earthquake activity and ground deformation continues.

“Aerial observations of this new fissure indicate it is at least several hundreds yards long and producing spatter rising many tens of feet into the air. A slow-moving lava flow is moving away from the vent,” the observatory said

On Saturday, a fissure opened up near the Puna geothermal power plant, spattering lava less than a mile from the facility. There are still nearly 50,000 gallons of pentane stored at the siteaccording to Hawaii News Now.

You can see an interactive Google fissure map here. (h/t @volcanohawaii)

Hawaii County Civil Defense has warned people to stay out of the active eruption area, and using off-road vehicles to go sightseeing is not allowed. Residents in the lower Puna region have been warned that there may be little to no advanced notice to evacuate, while the FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction for the area. 

This is what a volcano sounds like up close:

President Trump issued a disaster declaration for Hawaii on Friday, announcing that federal funding had been approved for local recovery efforts in the affected areas. 

"Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments," the White House added in a statement.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long named deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn as the agency's top official overseeing the relief efforts. 

“As more fissures open and toxic gas exposure increases, the potential of a larger scale evacuation increases. A mass evacuation of the lower Puna District would be beyond current county and state capabilities, and would quickly overwhelm our collective resources,” Ige said.