In this photo provided by the US Geological Survey, red ash rises from the Puu Oo vent on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano after a magnitude-5.0 earthquake struck the Big Island on Thursday. Picture: Kevan Kamibayashi/U.S. Geological Survey via AP

Honolulu - Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday, releasing red lava into a residential neighbourhood and prompting mandatory evacuation orders for nearby homes.

Hawaii County said steam and lava poured out of a crack in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island.

The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rattled the area's Puna district.

Earlier in the week, the crater floor of the Puu Oo (POO'-oo OH'-oh) vent collapsed. That caused magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said red lava emerged Thursday on Mohala Street. The county has ordered evacuations for homes from Luana Street to Pohohiki Road. Snyder didn't know how many homes were covered by the evacuation order.

A nearby community center has opened for shelter.

AP