The Hawaii volcano shot a huge ash cloud 12,00 feet into the air, leading to a red alert warning being issued by the Hawaii Fire Department.
The cloud did not stop golfers from playing golf on a course on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said that rock falls and gas explosions within Halemaumau crater caused the ash plume.
Ash is not poisonous but irritates the nose, eyes and airways. It can make roads slippery and large emissions could cause the failure of electrical power lines, said USGS chemist David Damby.
Hawaii Fire Department declared air quality was still condition red – meaning immediate danger to health – and urged nearby residents to take action to limit further exposure.
Residents have also been warned by the volcanic observatory to try to avoid contact with the volcanic ash which could also cause breathing difficulties.
Around 2000 people have already fled their homes and 40 houses have been destroyed as lava reached neighbourhoods.
A fire department spokesman said: “Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe.
“Sulphur dioxide gas from fissures is especially dangerous for elderly, children and babies and people with respiratory problems.
“The residents of Puna are going through a very difficult time. County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation.”
Ashfall from Kilauea is expected to reach the region southwest of the erupting volcano summit, including the neighbourhoods of Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates.
A shift in winds was expected to bring ash inland and make them more concentrated, adding to the hazards already presented by the volcanic activity.