Over 61,000 locals relocated to safer places by Wednesday as Mount Mayon on Philippines’ Luzon island ejected fountains of lava and authorities kept the threat alert at level four, Reuters reported. A level four warning means a hazardous volcanic eruption is imminent.

Fountains of lava lasted seven minutes to over an hour, and generated ash plumes 3 km to 5 km above the crater, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in a bulletin.

The institute had decided to raise the alert level after the volcano exploded on Monday, sending lava fragments, ash and steam 10 km into the sky.

Mayon has so far ejected 6.2 cubic metres of volcanic material, and this is expected to increase with the volcano’s continuous activity, CNN Philippines reported. Australia said on Wednesday it would provide up to 7,75,000 Australian dollars (around Rs 4 crore) to help with evacuation.

Schools were shut in 17 cities and municipalities in Albay and Camarines Sur province, and 56 flights were cancelled.

As many as 55,068 residents were in temporary shelters, and nearly 6,200 had been evacuated. The number of those displaced rose after the local government designated an area of 9-km radius from Mount Mayon as the danger zone. Earlier, the radius of the danger zone was 8 km.

Lava last flowed out of the Mayon volcano in 2014, leading to the evacuation of 63,000 people. In 1841, lava flows from Mayon buried a town and killed 1,200 people.