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Hawaii Cautions Sightseers As Volcano Rages On

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Hawaii Cautions Sightseers As Volcano Rages On

The eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has destroyed 26 homes and is threatening hundreds more, with new fissures opening overnight on Sunday.

Nearly 2,000 people have so far been evacuated. Some residents were allowed home to rescue pets, but authorities said it was not safe to stay, reports the BBC.

New fissures and vents opened overnight in the Leilani Estates area, where lava leapt up to 230 ft (70 m) into the air.

The island was hit by a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Friday.

"When I evacuated on Thursday, I pretty much said goodbye because I have lived here a long time and seen what the lava does," local resident Ikaika Marzo told the BBC. "I think it's just important for everybody just to be realistic."

CNN adds that Hawaiian authorities are urging sightseers to stay away as Leilani Estates residents return to check on their neighborhood.

Big Island's Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday, spewing molten rock and high levels of sulfur dioxide.

Cracks emerged in the volcano's East Rift Zone – an area of fissures miles away from the volcano's summit. All residents of Leilani Estates, a community of about 1,700 people near Big Island's eastern edge, and nearby Lanipuna Gardens were ordered to evacuate.

Image credit: AFP