Photographs and footage show the extent of the destruction as walls of lava rips through towns and villages on its way to the ocean from La Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, Canary Islands
Terrifying footage shows a wall of lava rolling towards firefighters as they battle an erupting volcano.
Photos and videos show streams of lava pouring down streets and reaching heights of 6ft from La Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, Canary Islands.
It erupted at 3pm local time on Sunday September 19, one hour behind mainland Spain, and has been spewing hot lava into nearby villages.
It has been 40 years since it last erupted in 1971, which lead to the evacuation of the town of Fuencaliente.
The volcano also erupted in 1949, which lasted for 37 days and resulted in a large crack forming on its surface that was one-and-a-half kilometres in length.
Residents have been fleeing their homes and evacuating nearby areas as the lava made its way towards local villages.
The mayor of El Paso, one of the affected municipalities, Sergio Rodriguez said the eruption “left absolutely nothing in its path,” with residents unlikely to return to their homes anytime soon.
“The lava on its path to the sea has been a bit capricious and has diverted from its course,” Rodriguez told Spanish broadcaster TVE.
Today, authorities have evacuated another part of El Paso and have asked sightseers attracted by the phenomenon to stay away while they manage the crisis.
This comes after lava broke out of another crack in the volcano, forcing residents of Tacande Alto to evacuate on Monday and Tuesday.
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Witnesses to the eruption have said that the lava is mercilessly engulfing homes and setting fire to everything in its way.
A witness described seeing molten rock slowly engulfing an entire house in the village of Los Campitos, setting the building alight.
Mariano Hernández Zapata, President of the La Palma island council, said that the lava “is literally eating up the houses, infrastructure and crops that it is finding on its path toward the coast in the valley of Aridane.”
TVE reports that between 6,000 to 8,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as the lava pushes through the island.
The lava has reached heights of six-metres, creating a wall of molten magma, and is heading towards the sea, it’s natural outlet.
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However, the crisis team at Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Plan are concerned about when the lava reaches sea as toxic gasses will be released and there could be further explosions when the magma touches the ocean, El Pais reports.
According to the US Geological Service, the four main dangers of lava reaching the sea is “the sudden collapse of new land and adjacent sea cliffs into the ocean, explosions triggered by the collapse, waves of scalding hot water washing onshore”.
It adds: “And a steam plume that rains hydrochloric acid and tiny volcanic glass particles downwind from the entry point.”
The magma was expected to reach the sea yesterday at 8pm, but it has begun to slow down.
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The volcano erupted after days of seismic activities and earthquakes on the island, which resulted in the country being put on amber alert.
Thankfully, there have been no fatalities or injuries, but photographs show the extent of the damage to homes and wildlife.
Authorities dealing with the emergency have reassured residents that they should not fear for their safely as long as they follow recommendations.