National Guard forced to pull back from checkpoints on Hawaii's big island

There are 20 fissures scarring the landscape and delivering clouds of toxic sulfur dioxide.
2:01 | 05/17/18

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Transcript for National Guard forced to pull back from checkpoints on Hawaii's big island
That powerful explosion at the summit of kilauea, shooting a flume of ash 30,000 feet into the air, showering ash for miles around. The order going out tonight to Elter in place. ABC's Matt Gutman is there again tonight. Reporter: Tonight, that tower of ash punching through the clouds. Before dawn, this gemini observatory time lapse capturing that new explosive eruption at kilauea's halema'uma'u. The one this morning was definitely the biggest we've seen so far, just in terms of energy and how high up into the atmosphere it got. Reporter: Even higher than mt. Everest. Ballistic rocks, up to two feet wide, already heaved hundreds of yards. Residents not evacuated warned to shelter in place. And those 20 fissures scarring Hawaii's landscape, roaring with increased intensity. You can see all that lava fountaining here. Now this is fissure 17. Some of the fountaining has gone hundreds of feet in the air. What you're seeing over there and those roars are steam and gas flying out of these vents. That stuff is 2,000 degrees. This is what the community of Leilani estates looked like last may. And now. Those fissures delivering a cloud of sulfur dioxide so toxic, the National Guard had to pull back from several checkpoints, and already, evacuated residents like kaenyn Myers, who is eight months pregnant, forced to flee. I don't think it's safe to breathe. Matt, you're at a checkpoint that the National Guard was forced to abandon? Reporter: That's right. The smoke was so thick, it drove the guardsmen away. It explains why this, respirators like this, are the most scarce resource on the entire island, especially with scientists warning of another major eruption at any time. David? You and the team will be watching. Matt, thank you. And from the white house

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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