Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano destroyed hundreds more homes overnight, overtaking two oceanfront communities where residents were advised to evacuate last week, officials said Tuesday. Helicopter footage showed unsafe laze (lava haze) pluming from the new coastline. The flow's forward edge is now pouring into the sea, filling the once-popular Kapoho Bay.
About 500 homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland were in the direct path of the lava, officials from the County of Hawaii Civil Defense told ABC News. The destruction is the largest number of destroyed homes since the eruption began last month.
Thousands of residents have been evacuated from the area and lava spewing from the volcano's fissures have destroyed more than 100 structures since the first eruption a month ago.
The official said aerial surveillance of the area showed only the northern portion of Kapoho Beach and the southernmost "sliver" of Vacationland - the latter consisting of only about a half-dozen homes - were left unscathed. Okabe described the area as a mix of vacation rentals and year-round residences.
The flow, which is a half-mile wide in parts, entered the sea Sunday night, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, sending large plumes of "laze" - a risky mix of steam, gas and volcanic glass - into the air.
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"Looking at the map right now, Kapoho Bay is now Kapoho Point", says David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who has been helping with the emergency response on the island.
To date, the coastline has been extended 0.7 miles, and lava continues to fountain from fissure 8, the source of the flow.
A similar eruption in 1955 lasted for 88 days. "It's hard because obviously a lot of people have lost a lot more than just a attractive place to visit and memories".
The 2-square-mile Malama Ki Forest Reserve, located east of the volcano, is home to a young ohia-dominated forest and sub-populations of forest birds such as the Hawaiian honeycreepers, the Hawaii amakihi and apapane, KITV-TV reported Sunday.