Speed Reads

Nature's Nightmares

It's now too late to rescue people in lava flow zones, Hawaii officials say

It's been four days since the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island erupted, and officials can only do so much to further protect residents from the miles-long streams of lava.

Some residents are still inside a neighborhood that was evacuated Sunday night, reports CBS News, and local police have said that they will not enter the area to get those people out.

The eruption started Thursday and has destroyed at least 31 homes and buildings. A series of earthquakes has combined with the volcano's eruption and created major fissures in the ground, while the volcano continues to spew lava. About 1,700 people on the island have been evacuated from their homes, CBS News reports.

In Leilani Estates, emergency management officials warned residents to get out immediately. But police and firefighters aren't entering the area for those who remain because there's nothing they can do to fight the flows, which have traveled 25 miles to reach Leilani Estates.

Officials predict that the lava streams will continue as more vents open up to release the extensive buildup of underground magma. Even residents who aren't in the lava's line of destruction are at risk, as the volcano emits sulfur dioxide, a toxic smoke. Some neighborhoods have been evacuated because of the smoke hazard, which can be deadly. Read more at CBS News.