A VOLCANO began erupting in Spain on the Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday spewing jets of red hot lava into the air and forcing the evacuation of residents and animals.

The eruption of the Teneguia volcano located in La Cumbre Vieja national park in the sparsely populated south of the island of La Palma began around 3.15pm on Sunday.

Within two hours when lava began to snake down the wooded hillside, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for four villages.

Experts had raised the alarm of a possible eruption after seismic activity began a week earlier leading to the build of magma below the surface.

An amber alert had been issued and residents in the volcano area were warned to be ready for possible evacuation.

That message came through on Sunday when authorities had starte evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from surrounding villages before the first smoke was seen.

Spain’s Civil Guard tweeted that it would take part in the evacuation of between 5,000 to 10,000 people from villages near the volcano, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Ariadne.

Reports said several roads in the area had collapsed while volcanologists said five fissures had opened up in the hillside.

“In no circumstances go near the lava flow,” residents were warned in an official notice, “If there is volcanic ash, stay in your houses.”

The last eruption occurred fifty years ago in October 1971 and lasted 23 days when one man was killed as he was taking photographs near the lava flows, but no property was damaged.

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