Lava from a huge new fissure tore through farmland towards a coastal dirt road that is one of the last exit routes for some 2,000 residents in the southeast area of Hawaii's Big Island.
Almost 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon blow its top with a massive steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash miles into the sky.
The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the flow from the crack that emerged Sunday was heading on a path that would take it to the ocean, about three kilometres away.
"There's a lot of worst-case scenarios and roads getting blocked is one of them", Jeff Hickman, spokesman for the Hawaii National Guard, told Reuters.
Since the Kilauea volcano erupted, there hasn't been much of a break for residents of the southeast portion of the Big Island, who've been grappling with evacuations, lava and sulfur dioxide.
Back on Earth, the Kilauea eruption has caused around 2,000 residents to evacuate their homes and has destroyed more than 30 homes.
The American Red Cross said 500 people sought refuge in its shelters on Sunday night because of worsening volcanic activity.More news: Nobel Price In Literature 2018 Cancelled Over Alleged Sex Abuse
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Lava explosions, known as "spatter bombs", have launched hundreds of feet into the air over the past two days according to the U.S. Geological Survey, as observers documented the opening of the two newest fissures.
Hawaii Fire Department's issued the "red" alert earlier today over unsafe levels of sulphur dioxide in the Lanipuna Gardens area. The air quality in the area was declared "condition red", meaning it was an immediate danger to health. Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe.
There are ongoing concerns the volcano could be building up to a larger eruption, with the crater lake deflating while gas emissions remain elevated.
The eruptions have opened almost 20 vents in the ground.
Officials say the pace of bookings for hotels and tour activities on the Big Island of Hawaii are down about 50 percent compared with previous years as the erupting volcano is spewing lava.
Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island's tourism board.
Within the first few days of the eruption, hoteliers reported lost profit of over NZ $3 million.