Light coats of gritty ash fall near erupting Hawaii volcano

VOLCANO, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii authorities are handing out masks to protect people from ash as residents brace for an explosive eruption at the summit of Kilauea volcano.

One such eruption occurred Thursday. But most people found only thin coatings of ash, if they saw any at all. Winds blew much of the 30,000-foot (9,100-meter) plume away from people.

Joe Laceby of the town of Volcano says the ash felt like sand at the beach. He says it was a bit of an irritant but not too bad.

Laceby sealed windows and cracks in his home with cellophane wrap to keep out ash and volcanic gases. He has gas masks to protect himself from the toxic fumes and ash.

The explosion at Kilauea’s summit came shortly after 4 a.m.