About a dozen people trapped by Kilauea's lava, officials estimate

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An explosion rocked Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Tuesday morning, spewing ash almost a mile into the air and sparking an natural disaster that registered 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS' Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Monday that parts of the channelized flow from a fissure were starting to break out and move north.

Jim Kauahikaua, geophysicist at the US Geological Survey, said gas emissions from the volcano remain "very high" as tremors at the summit remain continuous.

A thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows on Sunday, June 3 as the flow from Fissure 8 continues to advance towards the ocean in Kapoho Bay.

The final phase of the evacuation was carried out late on Friday and early on Saturday by fire and police department personnel, with help from the Hawaii National Guard and public works teams, county civil defense spokeswoman Janet Snyder told Reuters by email.

"It stings", he said.

Officials warned the public to stay away from the plume because it can irritate skin and eyes and make it hard to breathe. "And you don't want to be breathing that". The lava from the Kilauea volcano has covered an area of 9 square kilometres - four times as big as New York's Central Park, according to USGS. Magno described the molten lava as being "like a flood, pouring out, covering everything in its path".

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About three dozen of those structures, mostly private homes and vacation rentals, were lost during the weekend in Kapoho.

The eruption has cut power, cell reception and county water in the area, CNN reported.

Authorities are planning to airlift people out if the lava spreads farther and endangers the dozen or so holdouts.

Officers pursued the suspect to a residence located just above Government Beach Road and arrested him; they then expedited their way back out of the area through the "Four Corner" intersection area as the lava flow was within 50-100 feet from crossing onto the roadway and cutting off an exit route.

"They are being asked to leave".

No injuries were reported in the area because it was evacuated.

The latest upheaval of Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, comes on the heels of an eruption cycle that began in 1983 and continued nearly nonstop for 35 years, destroying more than 200 dwellings and other structures.

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