Two U.S. Marine Corps helicopters were on standby Friday to possibly transport people from Hawaii’s Big Island, near Kilauea’s lava flow, as an unprecedented volcanic eruption entered its fourth week.
A third lava flow from Kilauea began streaming into the ocean in lower Puna district on Thursday, between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State park, producing a messy cloud of noxious gases containing tiny glass particles.
About two dozen fissures have opened down Kilauea’s east flank since May 3 and about 2,000 people have already left the southeast tip of the Big Island. Six of the fissures re-erupted on Thursday, sending rivers of molten rock through farmland and rural homes.
Another 2,000 people in coastal communities may be forced to leave their homes if State Highway 130, their last exit, becomes blocked.