Volcanic eruptions intensify on Spain's Canary Islands

More than 6,000 evacuated from La Palma Island; 400 hectares of land burned.

Volcanic eruptions intensify on Spain's Canary Islands

Eruptions from a volcanic grew in intensity Wednesday on the island of La Palma that has forced more than 6,000 people to be evacuated on the Canary Islands off southwest Spain.

The Cumbre Vieja on one of the smallest islands in the region with active volcanic geography.

Local government sources said the average height of the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has reached 6 meters since becoming active Sept. 19 and between 6,000 - 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide has been emitted daily.

Lava advancing toward the sea has burned 320 houses and property damage in the past four has topped €400 million ($471 million). A total of 400 hectares (988 acres) of land, including 300 hectares (741 acres) of banana trees, have been lost.

Roads on the island have been closed for a week and education was suspended in four districts because they are located on the route of the lava.

The military emergency response has assisted with aid and is controlling operations with 30 vehicles and 67 personnel.

The Institute for Volcanic Studies of the Canary Islands said eruptions are expected to continue for 24 to 84 days.

Experts said lava advanced an average of 700 meters (2,000 feet) per day and it might take two weeks to reach the sea. They warned that when it hits the sea it could cause a risk to residents with a chemical reaction that could crease gas and severe eruptions.