The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has raised the alert level to "red" after the Kilauea volcano started to erupt on Wednesday (June 7) morning.
"The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic. Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater, generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor. The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu, and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses," the HVO explained.
Officials said that currently, the eruption does not pose a risk to populated areas.
"So this does not seem to be developing the way the 2018 eruption had obviously," Adam Weintraub, communication director for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, told KFVE, referencing the 2018 eruption, which lasted four months and caused over $800 million in property damage. "They're keeping a close eye outside the caldera toward the rift zones, but at this point, it looked like the lava was contained within the summit and within the crater itself."
However, Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth is concerned about the air quality as the volcano spews gases into the air.
"Especially on the first day with the gases coming out, the trade winds going down toward Pahala, people with respiratory issues, they have some issues today," Roth told the news station. "But all in all, it's spectacular and a great time to visit the volcano."