By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – The volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma is officially over, authorities declared on Saturday.
The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano that began in mid-September goes down as the longest in the recorded history of La Palma, part of the Canary Islands archipelago.
“After 85 hours and eight hours, the eruption finished,” said Julio Perez, spokesperson for the Canary Islands government.
The eruption has also been one of the most destructive, forcing some 7,000 people to flee their homes as entire towns or neighborhoods were devoured by the pouring lava.
Nearly 3,000 buildings were destroyed or affected by a wall of lava that bulldozed 1,223 hectares (3,023 acres) of land, according to the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service.
Although residents still have a long process of rebuilding ahead of them, the confirmation of the end of the eruption, which came after 10 days without any volcanic activity, was cause for celebration.
“This is the best Christmas present possible,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter.