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Philippines Raises Volcano Threat Level

Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano as seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, around 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

Authorities in the Philippines are warning residents of the imminent and potentially dangerous eruption of the country's most active volcano.

State volcanologists raised the threat level for Mount Mayon to four on a scale of five, meaning the eruption could happen within hours or days.

It has already spewed ash, lava, molten rock and steam into the air, darkening the villages below it.

"There is a possibility of a dangerous eruption, the start of which we are already witnessing," said Renato Solidum, the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The danger zone around the site has been expanded to eight kilometers from the crater.

Tens of thousands of villagers have fled their homes since the volcano has awakened.

The Philippines lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where tectonic plates crash, which causes frequent volcanic and seismic activity.