Evacuations as Mexico's 'Volcano of Fire' erupts

A huge ash cloud is seen after an explosion at Colima Volcano, western Mexico, on July 11, 2015.
A huge ash cloud is seen after an explosion at Colima Volcano, western Mexico, on July 11, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

TONILA, Mexico (AFP) - Ash rained down from the so-called "Volcano of Fire" in western Mexico and people living in its shadow were evacuated Saturday after it spectacularly erupted.

The volcano spewed a 4km column of ash and molten rock overnight on Friday, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 80 people from nearby communities.

The volcano in Colima state has been active since Thursday but its eruptions intensified late on Friday and ash covered at least seven communities, according to federal authorities.

"This is the strongest activity since 2005," civil protection official Luis Felipe Puente told local radio.

One village at the foot of the mountain, Yerbabuena, was smothered in up to 5cm of ash, authorities said, and rain also tumbled down, adding to the misery.

Experts expect activity at the volcano to calm down in the coming days.

But authorities are taking no chances, setting up a perimeter to seal off the area 5km from the volcano.

Traffic was also restricted.

The volcano is one of the most active in Mexico and last erupted in January 2013.