LA PALMA, Spain, Sept 19 (Reuters) – A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday, sending jets of lava and a plume of smoke and ash into the air from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.
Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from surrounding villages before the eruption at 3:15 p.m. (1415 GMT) on a wooded slope in the sparsely populated Cabeza de Vaca area, according to the islands’ government.
Two hours later, with rivers of lava edging down the hillside, the municipality issued a mandatory evacuation order for four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane. Soldiers were deployed to help, and residents were asked to keep mobile phone use to a minimum.
Spain’s Civil Guard later tweeted that it would take part in the evacuation of between 5,000 to 10,000 people from villages near the volcano, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Ariadne.
Video footage showed fountains of red molten lava shooting into the sky, and plumes of smoke could be seen from across the island.
“In no circumstances go near the lava flow,” the municipality warned residents. “If there is volcanic ash, stay in your houses.”
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