Hawaii volcano explosions shoot ash to 11,000ft as lava swamps road

A rising tide of lava turned a Hawaii street into a smoking volcanic wasteland today, destroying at least eight homes as residents stood on the road and watched their houses burn.

Officials say almost 50 structures, including dozens of houses, have been destroyed since fissures began opening up in backyards on May 3.

There are now more than 20 fissures associated with Kilauea, and they've fountained lava that has poured across the Hawaiian landscape and destroyed 41 homes and dozens of other structures.

Activity at fissure 6 is seen as lava fountains build a small spatter cone (black mound) from which lava spills out on the surface and flows into a small pond (left of the cone) in Hawaii, U.S. May 25, 2018.

Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and nearby Lanipuna Gardens remain under evacuation orders due to lava flows and high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas from volcanic vents.

Some 25 miles down Kilauea's east flank, lava gushed from six giant cracks.

A series of summit explosions on Saturday spewed ash from Kilauea volcano up to 11,000ft and dusted communities to the south-west, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. UAS flights into hazardous areas allow USGS scientists to safely view, document, and better understand what's happening with Kīlauea's rapidly changing eruption and to provide information to Hawai'i County Civil Defense and emergency officials.

Year-to date 2018 visitor numbers to the Connecticut-sized island are "trending a little bit lower" than 2017, with the cancellation of some port visits by cruise ships expected to have a US$3 million (RM12 million) impact, said Ross Birch, head of the island's tourism board on a conference call.

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