GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan authorities on Friday ordered evacuations and declared an orange alert in three departments after a violent eruption from the Fuego volcano, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the country’s capital.
The alert applies to the provinces of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, and Escuintla, the spokesman for the Conred disaster management agency said.
David de Leon said that 330 people have been evacuated and that response teams have been deployed to communities near the 3,760-meter (12,327-foot) volcano.
Fuego has been active since 1999 and has erupted on three previous occasions this year, but this is the first time in 2017 that people living near the volcano have been told to leave, De Leon said.
Classes have been suspended at 10 schools in Escuintla.
Ash and other volcanic materials have fallen on nearly a dozen towns in the vicinity, the Conred spokesman said.
The latest eruption began in the wee hours of Friday and has been accompanied by lava flows, according to scientists at the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology.
Fuego erupted 16 times in 2016.