There are approximately 1,500 homes in the area, the spokesman said. The Red Cross reported 66 people in two shelters overnight, he added.
“I never thought I’d ever be faced with this, I’m just shellshocked,” said Carl Yoshimoto, 69. He was sheltering at Pahoa Community Center with his two dogs, Sako and Suki, and his partner since Thursday afternoon. Their house is in Leilani Estates.
“As soon as I heard the order to evacuate, I grabbed important paperwork, medications, my wallet — we were out of the house within a half an hour.”
Maddy Welch, 19, who works at Kalapana Bike rentals and lives in Leilani Estates with her mother, had set up a tent and a space at Pahoa Community Center with her two dogs, a goose and her friend, Taylor. “I woke up around 1:30 in the morning to earthquakes,” she said. “My mom didn’t want to leave. I told her there are two vehicles leaving this driveway — I hope you’ll be in one of them because we can’t come back.”
“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” she went on. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
On Thursday evening lava spilled from the crack in the volcano for about an hour and a half, leaving a large smear in a residential area of bushes and trees. Photos and drone footage showed a line of glowing orange slicing through green yards and white vapor and fumes rising above the trees. Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation that made state funding faster to access, and he called up the National Guard to help emergency workers with evacuation efforts.
Kilauea is the youngest of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii, and lies on the island’s south. Dr. Mandeville said the signal that there might be more activity was the little earthquakes, which happen when magma moves against rock, in this case, two miles under the earth’s surface. “That’s where the plumbing system is,” he said.
It remained to be seen how much damage the structures in the evacuation areas have sustained from the eruptions and the earthquakes.
Dan Jacobs, 47, who has spent the last six months building his house in Leilani Estates, was standing behind Pahoa Village Museum, a downtown hangout. “I invested all my money here, and I probably won’t have anything to show for it in about a month’s time,” he said. “You should see the floors I built, they’re so beautiful, it’s about halfway done.”
Past volcanic eruptions, some that occurred decades ago, have caused lasting damage to parts of the region.
An eruption from the Pu’u ’O’o cone of Kilauea in 1983 has continued to flow, destroying houses in the Royal Gardens subdivision. In 1990 more than 100 homes in the Kalapana community were destroyed by lava flow.
An eruption from Kilauea in 2014 flowed down the surface of the volcano and burned a house in Pahoa. Now residents worry that more structures could be threatened in the area, which is one of the fastest-growing in the state.
“Living on a volcano, everybody has got pretty thick skin. They know the risk,” said Ryan Finlay, who lives in Pahoa and runs an online trade school. “Lava for the most part has flown to the ocean the last 30 years. Everybody gets in a comfort zone. The last couple weeks, everything changed.”