The Latest: Volcano park to close ahead of explosive threat

The Latest on the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii (all times local):

7 p.m.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will shut down Friday in anticipation of a possible explosive event at Kilauea volcano's summit crater.

The National Park Service announced the closure Wednesday, saying that a "steam-induced explosion" at the summit could be caused by the summit's lava lake draining.

Ash and boulders could fall across a wide swath of the park and winds could carry debris across an even wider area of land.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday the risk will rise if the lava drops below the groundwater level beneath the summit's caldera or craterlike basin. That's because an influx of water inside could cause steam-driven explosions.

Below the summit, at least 15 fissures have split the ground open, sending lava shooting into the air in a residential neighborhood and destroying dozens of homes.

Editor's Note: We will provide more information at the News Media Teleconference call on Thursday, May 10, 11 a.m. Hawai'i Standard Time.

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4:10 p.m.

Police on Hawaii's Big Island say they've arrested a man suspected of burglarizing homes in a neighborhood where lava forced evacuations.

Police say a Leilani Estates resident returned to his home Wednesday to retrieve personal belongings when he saw the man leaving his house.

The resident and a friend took the suspect to police officers who arrested him.

Police say the suspect is linked to another burglary in Leilani Estates.

The subdivision was ordered to evacuate when lava began oozing from cracks in the ground last week. Authorities are allowing residents back in to check on their properties daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. if it's safe to do so.

Some residents have refused to leave because of fears their homes will be looted.

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3:45 p.m.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige says a geothermal energy plant near a lava outbreak in Hawaii is accelerating its removal of stored flammable gas.

Ige said Wednesday the Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons of pentane on site. He says it would be "very hazardous" if a volcanic vent were to open under the facility where the fuel is stored.

He says the plant expects to finish removing the gas by the end of Thursday.

The plant is across the highway from where lava has been erupting in the Leilani Estates residential neighborhood.

Hawaii County Civil Defense says a 15th volcanic vent opened on Wednesday. This one is on the edge of the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision just east of Leilani Estates.

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10 a.m.

Geologists say Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could erupt explosively and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air around its summit caldera in coming weeks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday the risk will rise if the lava drops below the groundwater level beneath the summit's caldera or craterlike basin. That's because an influx of water inside could cause steam-driven explosions.

The agency says the volcano may eject blocks up to 2 yards (1.83 meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (1.61 kilometer) away.

It may also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles (kilometers) away.

There's also potential for ash, steam and sulfur dioxide emissions.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes.

It has destroyed 36 structures since it began releasing lava into a Big Island residential neighborhood last week.

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8 p.m.

Police have gone door-to-door to evacuate residents near two new vents emitting dangerous volcanic gases in Hawaii.

The vents emerged on Tuesday near the spots where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.

Authorities initially ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave two communities in the Big Island's mostly rural district of Puna last Thursday.

But the new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue a cellphone alert ordering stragglers in the Lanipuna Gardens area to get out immediately. Police followed up with personal visits.

Fourteen vents have opened since the current lava breakout began. The lava has destroyed 36 structures.