Hawaii Volcano Eruption: 'Eerie' Blue Flames Burn Near Homes

Scientists have snapped "eerie" blue fire burning on the streets of Hawaii's Big Island.

What you need to know
  • Blue flames caught on camera by US scientists near Kilauea volcano
  • The "eerie" blue fire is being caused by lava burning through plants
  • Danger from the erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island continues

Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has so far destroyed homes, caused thousands of evacuations and transfixed millions with its oozing lava.

Now there's another reason to be captivated by the awesome natural spectacle -- blue fire erupting through suburban streets near the volcano.

The eerie blue flames, burning methane gas to be exact, have been brought to the attention of millions worldwide by scientists at the US Geological Survey.

They snapped the other-worldy flames breaking through cracks on Kahukai Street in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood of Pahoa on Hawai's Big Island this week.

The blue fire, according to the USGS, is caused by lava burning through plants and shrubs which produces methane that then seeps underground. Once ignited, it produces the blue flame.

“It's very dramatic. It's very eerie,” USGS scientist Jim Kauahikaua told media, noting that it was only the second time he's seen blue flames during an eruption.

Kilauea's major eruption kicked off earlier this month sending smoke billowing into the air and a river of slow-moving lava into residential areas, forcing thousands to set up temporary homes in refuge centres set up around the island.

Adding to the danger are more than 20 vents in the ground that have opened up releasing a potentially lethal mix of lava, steam and sulphur dioxide.

So far, the volcanic emergency has destroyed two dozen homes and seriously injured one person who was struck by a piece of lava flying through the air.

President Trump has declared the area an official disaster zone.