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Nearly 2,000 people on Hawaii’s Big Island have been evacuated from homes after lava eruptions destroyed five houses and sulfur dioxide gas threatened to harm anyone who stayed in the residential area, officials said.

A new fissure spewed lava up to 230 feet (70 m) into the air and new cracks opened on a highway in the Leilani Estates area, about a dozen miles (19 km) from where the Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement on Saturday.

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a 6.9 tremor on Friday, the strongest since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions were forecast, perhaps for months to come.

 Around 1,500 homes have been evacuated in a small rural area since fissures began spewing out steam, lava and sulfur dioxide which can be life-threatening in high levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No injuries or deaths were reported.

“Those remaining in Leilani and Lanipuna Gardens and along Pohoiki Road need to prepare to leave because if the winds change, you could be gassed,” warned Hawaii County Council member Eileen O’Hara in a Facebook post.

Source: Lava eruptions destroy 5 Hawaii homes, gas a threat | Reuters

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