Prompt evacuations have so far avoided casualties from the eruption, though the lava has totally or partially destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, mostly homes, and covered more than 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of mostly farmland.

A volcano erupting for the past five weeks on the Spanish island of La Palma is more active than ever, officials said Monday, after new lava flows following a partial collapse of the crater threatened to engulf previously unaffected areas.

A powerful new river of molten rock gushed out of the Cumbre Vieja volcano early Monday. The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute described it as “a giant lava fountain.”

“We’re in a new phase, which is much more intense,” Pedro Hernández, a researcher at the institute, told public broadcaster RTVE.

The eruption drove a volcanic ash cloud high over the island off northwest Africa. Residents watched to see what direction the new lava flow would take, and authorities prepared to move more people from their homes.

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