Powerful volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands

A volcano erupted on Sunday on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, sending fountains of lava and a plume of smoke and ash billowing into the air from Cumbre Vieja National Park in the south of the island.

Authorities had already begun evacuating people and farm animals from surrounding villages before the eruption, which occurred on a wooded slope near Cabeza de Vaca at 3:15 p.m. (1415 GMT), according to the island government.

Immediately after the eruption, the municipality urged residents in a statement to “exercise extreme caution” by staying away from the eruption area.

People in nearby villages were told to go to one of five evacuation centers, and soldiers were sent to help.

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