Puna residents are waking up to a growing crisis. Fissure #17 erupted last night a bit after 6 pm, just a 100 yards or so further along the rift from #16 (#16 has stalled). It spattered lava and vented gas, but no flow so far. But local residents pre-dawn today reported hearing gas erupting further down the rift not far from #17. Possibly another eruption or active crack? We'll have to wait for light to see what's going on.
Below, photo of fissure 16 with its surrounding small lava field, in the foreground. Fissure 17 opened in the steaming area on the left.
Residents in the area are also reporting cracks forming on highway 132, the other main highway leading from the coastline. With Rt 130 already closed due to wide cracks, this now is alarming the area residents. As of last night, several residents were evacuating, or are planning the leave today, according the facebook posts. They fear having their vehicles and animals trapped, besides themselves. Helicopters and small boats will be available to remove trapped residents, if needed, but many animals and possessions would have to be left behind. So people are starting to get out while things are still not impossible.
Meanwhile up at the summit, the lava level is still dropping. Looks like we may have another 3 days or so until something happens.