Three people trapped by lava airlifted to safety near Hawaii volcano

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The US Geological Survey reported late on Friday that the molten rock was approaching the intersection of highways 132 and 137 in an area known as Four Corners on the southeast corner of the island.

Volcanic gas and ash emissions remain high at the Kilauea summit and in the fissure system, the Civil Defense Agency said on Sunday. However, a handful of residents said they had nowhere else to go and chose instead to remain in their homes.

The final phase of the evacuation was carried out late on Friday and early on Saturday by fire and police department personnel, with help from the Hawaii National Guard and public works teams, county civil defense spokeswoman Janet Snyder told Reuters by email. "Residents in this area should heed warnings from Civil Defense officials and be prepared to evacuate with little notice", officials say.

Authorities are planning to airlift people out if the lava spreads farther and endangers the dozen or so holdouts.

The lava, which the USGS said has covered a of 5.5 square mile area, has burned at least 400 power poles, cutting power to most of the area, according to Hawaii Electric Light Co. Three people were airlifted out of an isolated area on Sunday in the Kapoho community.

Officers have issued 18 total citations in the last week to people for bypassing checkpoints and entering risky areas, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) said in a statement.

There have been various arrests of people forcing their way through blocked areas. "They had become trapped after trying to move belongings, and had no cell service", according to they agency statement.

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Among those who have not evacuated were Brian Jordan and his wife, who were hoping the lava spares their Leilani Estates home.

Meanwhile, seven people were cited Saturday for loitering in a disaster zone, and they will have to appear in court, Hawaii officials said. It advised residents in communities downwind, including Pahala, Ocean View and Kona, to limit their exposure to gas and ash.

With the threat of lava blocking planned the two highway escape routes, contractors have been bulldozing an alternative escape route through the adjacent Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

HONOLULU (AP) _ A lava flow from an erupting volcano has cut off access to Kapoho and Vactionland on Hawaii's Big Island.

Kilauea volcano is near-constantly erupting from vents either on its summit (caldera) or on the rift zones.

That's a lot of lava, but flow volumes can be extraordinarily hard to measure, the USGS said.