Both communities are in a forested, remote part of the Big Island on the eastern flank of Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983.
In recent years the volcano has mostly released lava in hard-to-reach areas inside a national park or along the coastline. But last week, vents popped open and released lava, gas and steam inside residential neighborhoods.
There’s no indication when the eruption might stop, or how far the lava might spread.
There were about 1,700 residents in Leilani Estates and a few hundred in Lanipuna Gardens before last week.
Andrew Nisbet evacuated last week and has no idea what has happened since.
“My home is right in the line of the major breakouts so maybe, maybe not.” he said Monday during a community meeting.
Authorities urged Scott Wiggers to evacuate, but he refused.
“I’m in the safest part in the subdivision. There’s no threat to my house whatsoever,” said Wiggers, a tour guide.