Early Wednesday morning, officials from the U.S. Geological Survey spotted blue flames rising from cracks in a country road in Leilani Estates, near where lava is spewing from the Kīlauea volcano's lower east rift zone.
When methane is heated, it can seep into voids below the surface - in this case, the cracks on Kahukai Street in the residential area of Leilani Estates.
"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense agency warned in its latest bulletin that residents downwind of Kilauea should take care to avoid exposure to ash, which can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties, particularly in people with respiratory problems.
Some 2,000 people remain under evacuation orders due to lava flows and sulfur dioxide gas. New footage from the Hawaii Army National Guard paints a stark picture of Puna, Hawaii, as the lava flows burn bright red in the darkness of night.
Officials also said that crews had remained on the scene monitoring for gas releases and had detected no sign of hydrogen sulfide, a flammable and extremely unsafe gas.
Intermittent explosions of ash from the summit, driven by underground bursts of steam deep inside the volcano, are occurring about twice a day now.
The ash moves with the wind. Officials are concerned that "laze", a risky product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.
Stovall says the flying fragments could land on boats on the water. Mark Strassmann reports from Pahoa.
Although some residents, like Debbie Smith, are opting to stay put, at least for the time being. "The first thing that came to my mind was, are we ever going to be able to go home", said homeowner Shantel Pacarro. Her recent article is titled "Workers Scramble to Seal Wells at Geothermal Plant Threatened by Lava". "It's just a wait and see".
A man hit by a "lava bomb" during eruptions says he's lucky to be alive.
Ige said transportation officials are "also looking at other alternative routes and trying to decide what would make the most sense in terms of providing safe passage". "The air quality has been so bad that everybody has been walking around with a (dust) mask".
The Kilauea volcano erupted three weeks ago in Hawaii, and between the gushing lava, ash and toxic gas, it's a never-ending nightmare for Lower Puna residents.
The image gives a good sense of scale and how the lava flows have been affecting only a small region of the island, though it's the ashfall that's reaching areas beyond Kilauea.