GUATEMALA CITY – At least 280 people were evacuated Thursday in Guatemala after the Fuego volcano, which is in a constant state of activity, erupted more strongly, the first such instance this year.
The National Disaster Reduction Coordinator said that besides the evacuees, some 46,000 people have been affected by the fall of ash in several villages in the provinces of Escuintla and Chimaltenango.
The Fuego volcano, located some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the capital, presents a “Stromboli” eruptive profile which has obligated authorities to declare an orange institutional alert and a red alert in the town of Alotenango, where the passage of vehicles has been blocked along one of the local highways due to pyroclastic flows.
The 280 evacuees – according to Coordinator spokesman David de Leon – are students who were taken back to their homes after classes were suspended in Alotenango, Sacatepequez and Yepocapa, in Chimaltenango province.
The volcano – which is exhibiting “constant,” although moderate, explosions – is emitting a column of ash some 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) high, which has drifted more than 40 km (25 mi.) to the west and southwest.
The volcano, which is 3,763 meters high (about 12,340 feet), is located near the border of Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez provinces and is one of the most active of the 32 fire mountains in Guatemala.
The island of Stromboli is located north of Sicily and the three volcanoes on it have been in an almost continuous state of eruption for some 2,000 years.