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Earthquakes, lava fissures put Hawaii’s Big Island on high alert

On Saturday, three more homes were reported destroyed, bringing the total to five, said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the mayor of Hawaii County, as eruptions continued following a 6.9 tremor that rocked the island’s southeast corner at midday on Friday.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said at midday local time on Saturday that “eruptive activity is increasing and is expected to continue.”

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on Saturday that several new lava fissures had opened in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna District, about a dozen miles (19 km) from the volcano. Not all the fissures were still active, it added.

Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 48 square miles (125 square km), according to the USGS. Scientists say it is nearly impossible to predict how long an eruption will last.

No injuries or deaths were reported, but Hawaii Governor David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide emergency help.

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