A section of the north face of the volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma collapsed early Saturday, unleashing destructive new rivers of lava.
“The new lava flow is causing tremendous amounts of destruction and hindering the movement of our teams on the ground,” said the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan) on Twitter.
Involcan described one new flow as “unstoppable” and videos have shown it overtaking buildings and electricity lines.
Earlier in the day, residents of the towns of La Laguna and El Paso, which are in the lava’s likely path, rushed to their homes to grab their belongings and perhaps see their neighborhoods one last time.
The volcano has been erupting since Sept. 19, but most of the lava emitted this week kept flowing down the main path, limiting further destruction.
As of Friday, the volcano had destroyed 1,149 buildings and 480 hectares of land, according to data collected by the EU’s Copernicus satellite.
Recent wind shifts have been favorable for the island. After shutting down on Thursday due to falling ash, the La Palma airport reopened on Saturday and the overall air quality has improved.