An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale struck Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday, further imperiling homes in the Puna District. The islands have been experiencing smaller earthquakes all week, which had seemingly culminated with a 5.0 earthquake that had triggered the eruption of Kilauea volcano at the southeast corner of Big Island on Thursday afternoon.
The 6.9 event was the largest earthquake to strike Hawaii since 1975, and it created at least six reported fissures in the Puna District, all of which were hundreds of yards long. (Hawaii News Now) Hawaii County has responded by updating the evacuation alert which was triggered by the Kilauea eruption. From the county :
All residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivision are on evacuation notice. Police, Fire and County agencies along with the National Guard are assisting with evacuation.
Hawaii Fire Department reports extremely dangerous air quality conditions due to high levels of Sulfur Dioxide gas in the evacuation area. Elderly, young, and people with compromised respiratory systems are especially vulnerable.
The high levels detected are an immediate threat to life for all who become exposed. First responders may not be able to come to the aid of residents who refuse to evacuate.
Due to the many recent tremors, residents local to the volcano had some measure of advance warning and had prepared for the possibility of evacuation. While there is the risk of massive property damage and tourism to most of the nearby Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is shut down, as yet there have been no reported fatalities. Still, more than 1700 people have been instructed to leave their homes, with more than 8,000 additional people warned to be ready for potential evacuation orders depending on how the situation develops.
Immediate concern is focused on property, with two house fires being reported as triggered by lava in the residential Leilani Estates.
From Fox News:
Aerial drone footage shows a line of lava snaking its way through forest land and bubbling up on paved streets after Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted. Officials have issued evacuation orders to more than 1,500 residents. https://t.co/m4haadQOGg pic.twitter.com/kZseDRrbn4
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 4, 2018
A shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross in Pahoa.