Lava from Hawaii volcano covers 8 square miles

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"The lava flow destroyed Four Corners [the intersection of Routes 132 and 137], so that means anyone who did not evacuate in the area from Vacationland and Kapoho to Pohoiki is cut off now", AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews said.

Three people were evacuated from an isolated part of the Kapoho community Sunday, according to the Hawaii Fire Department. "Period", county spokeswoman Janet Snyder told reporters.

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

The flight crew went to a safe location and dropped off the USGS team, then went back and airlifted the people to safety.

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The latest footage from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed lava entering the Pacific Ocean at Kapoho Bay. A laze plume is blowing inland from the ocean entry but dissipating quickly. The flow prompted warnings from Hawaii County Civil Defense authorities about laze, a nasty mashup of lava and haze that sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

Officials warned the public to stay away from the plume because it can irritate skin and eyes and make it hard to breathe.

He said fissure No. 8 in Leilani Estates was producing fountains of lava 220 feet high.

"Due to current and further expected loss of this forest habitat due to lava inundation, and defoliation due to volcanic emissions in lower Puna, these remnant and sub-populations of wildlife may no longer persist, rapidly decline, or become further fragmented and/or contract in range", said DLNR Hawaii island branch manager Steve Bergfeld in a news release. "Persons in violation of this order are subject to arrest and will be liable for any costs associated with rescue operations in the mandatory evacuation area".

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In addition to reckless driving, the individual is also facing charges that include a refusal to evacuate.

The Big Island, also known as the island of Hawaii, is about 320 kilometres southeast of Oahu, where the capital, Honolulu is located.

Lava flows have knocked out telephone and power lines, causing widespread communication outages, and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.

The strong quake fortunately did not trigger a tsunami even as lava continues to bubble from the volcano.

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About two dozen recent fissures have appeared since the volcano began erupting on May 3, destroying dozens of homes.