Guatemala's Volcano of Fire erupts

A view of the Volcan de Fuego (Fire Volcano), taken from the community of Carrizalillo, Colima State, Mexico, early on Jan 23, 2017.
A view of the Volcan de Fuego (Fire Volcano), taken from the community of Carrizalillo, Colima State, Mexico, early on Jan 23, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) - Guatemala's Volcano of Fire erupted Saturday (Feb 25), spewing lava and sending up plumes of ash that rained down on nearby communities and could eventually reach the capital, civil protection authorities said.

The Volcan de Fuego, one of the country's three active volcanos, is located about 45km southwest of the capital Guatemala City. It was the volcano's second eruption this year.

David de Leon, spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, said the volcanic activity later stabilised and fell within the normal range after an eruptive phase that lasted 13 hours.

The rumbling 3,763-m-high volcano registered a powerful eruption from 11:28 pm Friday (1:28pm Saturday Singapore time).

In the afternoon, explosions generated ash columns 4,500m above sea level, 500m less than in the morning. The longest of three lava flows so far stretched 1,600m.

Although the ash could travel as far as Guatemala City, it has not yet reached the capital, instead affecting populations in the four departments near the volcano.

Earlier, it pumped out a series of moderate and strong explosions, according to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology.

In addition to Fuego, the Central American country has two other active volcanos: Santiaguito in the west and Pacaya in the south, just 30km from the capital.