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Residents Evacuate After Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire Erupts

Homes are covered by volcanic ash spewed from the Volcano of Fire, in Panimache, Guatemala, March 8, 2022.

About 500 residents have evacuated from the surroundings of Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire after an eruption that began Monday. The same region was devastated by a deadly eruption in 2018.

The Volcan de Fuego’s activity started to dwindle about 3 a.m. Tuesday, the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology said in a statement.

“The seismic and acoustic sensors confirm that the activity that persists in the crater are weak explosions and booms that still generate some avalanches principally toward the Ash and Dry ravines,” the institute said. It also reported new lava flows in three ravines.

Shelters have been opened in the nearby town of Escuintla, Guatemala’s third-largest city, for evacuees in need of asylum, Guatemala’s disaster agency said. Gyms in the town of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa have been converted for use as shelters.

The volcano also erupted last month, covering the surrounding communities with ash clouds. The tremors that emerged from the volcano caused nearby roofs and windows to shake vigorously.

One of the biggest hazards of these volcanic eruptions are the lahars, an Indonesian term that describes the mixture of water and rock fragments that flows down the slopes of a volcano. They are capable of burying an entire town.

The Volcano of Fire, located in south-central Guatemala, measures 3,763 meters (12,300 feet) high and is one of the most active in Central America.