About 2,000 residents have been displaced from Leilani since earlier this month as fountains of lava and high concentrations of toxic sulfur dioxide gas continued unabated. A mandatory evacuation of much the subdivision was imposed last week.
Plumes of volcanic ash belched into the air by periodic daily explosions from the crater at Kilauea's summit have posed an additional nuisance and a health concern to nearby communities.
So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's hair," wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcano goddess of Hawaiian myth.
Seaside residents and boaters also have been warned to avoid noxious clouds of laze — a term combining the words "lava" and "haze" — formed when lava reacts with seawater to form a mix of acid fumes, steam and glass-like specks.
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.
At the same time, most of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the island's biggest tourist attractions, remains closed indefinitely due to hazards from ash and volcanic rock ejected from the summit crater, and accompanying earthquakes that have damaged park facilities.
Kilauea's current upheaval comes on the heels of an eruption cycle that began in 1983 and had continued nearly nonstop for 35 years, destroying more than 200 homes. Scientists say they are unsure whether the latest activity is part of the same eruption phase or a new one, and how long it may last.