Lava has engulfed the heads of two wells that tap into steam and gas deep into the Earth at the 38-megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture electrical plant, which used to produce 1/4 of the Big Island's electricity.
"We're going to have to say no, that's not safe".
Hawaii County Civil Defense on Sunday issued an emergency alert calling for immediate evacuations of sections of the Leilani Estates community.More news: Sleeping in on the weekend can add years to your life
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Molten rock from the erupting Kilauea volcano continued to relentlessly bulldoze through homes and backyards nearly a month after it began. Newly reactivated fissures were spewing molten rock and toxic gas, destroying buildings as the lava moves at a rate of some 90 feet every hour.
The lava flow originated from Fissure 8, and began advancing rapidly to the northeast from near Kahukai road before 4 a.m. HST, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported. Its operator, Israeli-controlled Ormat Technologies, said it had not been able to assess the damage.
Residents were pressed to evacuate the area so that they wouldn't be caught up in the lava's movement.
Winds are set to shift on Monday and Tuesday, causing higher concentrations of ash and volcanic smog that will spread west and northwest to affect more populated areas, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender.