Volcanic activity paused in Hawaii but 'hazardous fumes' continue

Returning residents must "be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice."

Volcanic eruptions have "paused" at all 12 fissure sites on the Big Island of Hawaii, but hazardous fumes continue to be released in some neighborhoods, authorities said Tuesday.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency announced on its Facebook page today that the pause in volcanic activity, which was first recorded Monday night, had continued into this morning.

Residents in the Leilani Estates, a neighborhood close to the volcano, will now be allowed back in to check on their property during daylight hours "conditions permitting," the agency said. But even so, those residents must "be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice," authorities said.

The agency also stressed that only those with a real need to enter the area should do so.

"The residents of Leilani Estates are going through a very difficult time. This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area," the statement read.

Some residents in nearby Lanipuna Gardens have been banned from re-entry at this time, however, because of "dangerous volcanic gases," the agency said.

Some 1,800 residents have been evacuated from the two neighborhoods where cracks have opened.

All told, 35 structures were destroyed following Thursday's eruption. Activity from the volcano had also opened new vents or fissures on Sunday, bringing the total number to at least 12 by Monday, according to the Civil Defense Agency.

The agency said Monday many of the vents that had caused so much destruction over the weekend had calmed down. Additionally, no injuries have been reported.

Today's statement also issued a warning against vandalism and looting, noting that local authorities have "established a policy of zero tolerance" against any such activity and such acts "will be treated as a felony."