PANAREA (Italy): Smoke rises from Stromboli volcano on Wednesday in this still image obtained from social media video.—Reuters
PANAREA (Italy): Smoke rises from Stromboli volcano on Wednesday in this still image obtained from social media video.—Reuters

ROME: Italy’s Stromboli volcano off the coast of Sicily erupted on Wednesday, according to fire fighters who rushed to put out wildfires sparked by lava flows.

Emergency services scrambled to launch motorboats and helicopters after the “strong explosion” in the south-central slope of the crater shook the island, but no-one was hurt, the fire service said on Twitter.

Falling ash from a vast mushrooming cloud covered the rooves of houses in the tiny windswept town of Stromboli, the Repubblica newspaper said, adding that the explosion had been felt on the nearby island of Salina.

The volcano, which is part of the Aeolian Islands archipelago in southern Italy, had been off limits to walkers following a deadly eruption in June which killed a hiker and sent tourists fleeing.

Stromboli, just 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) in area and 924 metres (3,000 feet) high, is just the top of a volcano that is largely underwater.

It is one of few in the world with almost continuous activity, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.A similarly spectacular eruption in July on Stromboli killed an Italian hiker.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. Some small fires were reported near one of the Mediterranean island’s hamlets.

Stromboli, population 400, is 135 miles (217 kilometres) southeast of Naples in the Aeolian archipelago and is one of three active Italian volcanoes.

Rumbling almost continuously, Stromboli sends out streams of lava, whose red-hot glows can be seen from offshore at night.The president of the Sicily region, Nello Musumeci, said the docking of private boats in the island had been suspended for a few hours on Wednesday as a precaution.

“Luckily there were no damages to people and properties,” Musumeci said on Facebook.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2019