Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed due to persistent earthquakes and eruptions of corrosive volcanic ash. Inland, where molten rock is burning through the jungle, methane explosions are hurling boulders while toxic gas is reaching some of the highest levels seen in recent times.
Instead, tsunamis or tidal waves, become more serious threats if the size of the natural disaster increases, Preller said.
The site marked the latest challenge facing authorities during what geologists call an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at Kilauea's summit and from giant fissures 25 miles (40 km) down its eastern side.
"Lava entered Green Lake within Kapoho Crater, producing a large steam plume".
"For us it's more of a vacation area, but for those who live there permanently, they're trying to figure out where they're going to be living", he said.
Hawaii County authorities say the lava has now destroyed at least 117 homes, having already cut a destructive path through the residential areas of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens in the Puna district.
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Lava from an erupting Hawaii volcano has destroyed more than 100 homes in a rural Big Island district.
Hawaii Civil Defense warned residents to avoid contact with the "laze" steam, which can contain hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles. Three people were airlifted out of an isolated area on Sunday in the Kapoho community.
Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a motorist after he disregarded and sped through a traffic control checkpoint on Government Beach Road just north of the intersection with Hwy.
The suspect was later charged with Refusing to Evacuate, Obstructing Government Operations, Resisting Order to Stop Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and two counts of Reckless Endangering in the 2nd degree.
In its report, the US Air Force said: "Modern aerial bombing has a substantial probability of success for diversion of lava from most expected types of eruptions on Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone, if Hilo is threatened and if Air Force assistance is requested".
"These remnant and sub-populations of wildlife may no longer persist, rapidly decline, or become further fragmented and/or contract in range", said Steve Bergfeld, the Branch Manager of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in the release.