Heaven lived up to its name. A peaceful rural settlement in the heart of a biosphere reserve. But now it has turned out quite the opposite: inferno of lava. This small town on the Spanish island of La Palma doesn’t get in the way of the long streaks of magma that have erupted since last Sunday from the Cabeza de Vaca volcano. This Monday, with Already displaced populationFirefighters could only go from house to house to rescue abandoned animals before they were engulfed by lava and accompanying fires.
The smell of burning, sulfur, and an incessant rain of ash accompanies the continuous progression of lava that bears the walls, gates, and doors. A two-year layer of volcanic pebbles, which in the Canaries is known as irritationAsphalt covers the streets. “Faced with that, nothing can be done but wait,” explains Alberto, chief of the fire brigade. Next to him, a fellow from Gran Canaria holds in his arms a recently rescued rabbit. On the street, another firefighter carrying a dog, frightened, continues to look back. In the background, the roar of the volcano does not stop, only two kilometers away, and an ash rain covers the entire LP3 highway.
The head of the government of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, announced that the lava flow will reach the coast around 8:00 pm on Monday, after crossing the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Arridan and Tazacorte. Torres emphasized, however, that “the expectation is that ‘nobody will be evicted anymore because the development of waste is in the direction of areas that have already been evacuated’.” About 5,500 people had to leave their homes.
Paradise was one of the first cities to be emptied on a Sunday afternoon after the volcano erupted at 3:12 p.m. That’s why, early Monday afternoon, dozens of firefighters from La Palma and Gran Canaria struggled to rescue dogs, rabbits and birds from the merciless advance of lava tongues from one of the nine mouths of the new volcano 300 meters away each. hour, slower than 700 meters per hour initially calculated alongside volcanic cones.
Surprised firefighters notice the behavior Rivers of incandescent material expelled by the volcano. “A tongue of lava was advancing along the eastern side of the city,” explains a local worker. During the advance, he says, the still-smoking lava stream froze. “The lava crashed into itself, swerved and saw what happened: all over the center of the village it moved without ceremony.” This circumstance enabled Carlos Rodriguez, a local resident, to save his house with only two meters. “We ran off like crazy, and I don’t even know how,” he explains.
As lava flows down the hill through downtown, the smell of burning and rain irritation condenses, and the temperature rises. The squad leader pulls his men with a cue from his arm and finally shouts, “Everyone to the trucks now!” As they pass, they close every house and move cages and nervous animals onto the road. “Look at her,” said another firefighter, pointing to the dog in his arms. I didn’t want to leave the house, even with the flames by my side. And the belief that its owner left it there.”
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