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County Managing Director Wil Okabe said his own vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots is also threatened.

Snyder quoted Kim, who had a second home in Vacationland, as saying, "Hundreds of homes and a lifestyle is gone".

The latest two communities affected by the lava flow had been ordered evacuated beforehand and there were no immediate reports of any casualties.

The official said aerial surveillance of the area showed only the northern portion of Kapoho Beach and the southernmost "sliver" of Vacationland - the latter consisting of only about half a dozen homes - were left unscathed. Civil defense officials said Kapoho Bay had been filled in with lava that extended seven-tenths of a mile from what had been the shoreline.

The river of lava is emanating from a gushing fissure miles away, on the flanks of the Kilauea volcano in the Leilani Estates neighborhood. He told reporters that there is still plenty of shelter space but that state officials are working with federal counterparts to work on a plan for housing people who've lost their homes to the lava.

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.

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Before and after photos reveal a vast amount of land near Kapoho Bay now covered in lava. The flight crew went to a safe location and dropped off the USGS team, then went back and airlifted the people to safety, Janet Babb said, a USGS geologist.

The lava flow has covered about 7.7 square miles of the island, according to the USGS.

"He was very depressed", Okabe said of how Kim, the mayor, felt about losing his vacation home.

Hawaii Civil Defense warned residents to avoid contact with the "laze" steam, which can contain hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles.

Not too long ago, Kapoho Bay was a picturesque vacation destination for many.

She reminisced about taking her daughter to swim in the ocean for the first time in a local swimming spot known as Champagne Ponds. Police said a 55-year-old man was arrested last week after he circumvented a traffic checkpoint and crashed his vehicle into a hardened lava flow.


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