People are getting accustomed to the drill

Picture taken this morning close to the eruption site.

Picture taken this morning close to the eruption site. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

“Our first task was to evacuate the entire area when it was headed for an eruption, and that was primarily at the Blue Lagoon.”

This is what Úlfar Lúðvíksson, the police chief in Suðurnes, says to mbl.is. The sixth volcanic eruption in nearly three years began at six o’clock this morning on the Sundhnúkacrater row, north of Sýlingarfell.

“There were about 100 guests at the Blue Lagoon, as there have been over the last few days, and some contractors were working at the defence parks. The evacuation went well, but there was no one in town when the event took place,” Lúðvíksson says.

He adds that people are at the closing-points and the Grindavíkurvegur road by Reykjanesbraut has been closed. He says that he received a call about a quarter of an hour before 6 am this morning that a possible volcanic eruption was coming up and maps have been made since the eruption began.

Úlfar Lúðvíksson, the police chief in Suðurnes.

Úlfar Lúðvíksson, the police chief in Suðurnes. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

“The pre-warning wasn’t long and we were almost ready. The eruption is in a familiar location and is in a similar place to the eruption in December. Now we just have to see how this develops and figure out the extent of the eruption. People are talking about how the fissure has extended in both directions but it doesn’t seem as majestic as the last two eruptions.”

Completely crazy to walk to the eruption site

Lúðvíksson says that in light of the frequent volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula in recent years, people have become accustomed to everything.

“We have been in action and operational management, field management and the coordination centre have been in operation for a long time and there is very little that changes for us.”

He says that people might think of walking towards the eruption site from Reykjanesvegur road, but it’s completely crazy.

“I’m not really worried about it at the moment. The eruption can be seen clearly from the Reykjanesvegur road, as was the case in the two previous eruptions, and there are some very good viewpoints.

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