Increased activity at Fuego volcano prompts new evacuations, Guatemala

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Increased volcanic activity at Guatemalan Fuego volcano forced authorities to issue new evacuation advisories for people living around the volcano.

At least 2 000 residents living in 10 communities near Fuego volcano were asked to evacuate on Monday, November 19, 2018, as increased volcanic activity continues at Guatemalan volcano.

Authorities said there is a threat of new pyroclastic flows, adding that each community is allowed to decide if they will evacuate or not. At least three communities are already evacuating and others are expected to follow.

The volcano is producing pyroclastic flows and ash columns up to 5.2 km (17 060 feet) above sea level, INSIVUMEH said 05:40 LT (11:40 UTC) November 19. Ash is reaching distances up to 20 and 30 km (18 miles) away from the volcano and the incandescent material is ejected up to 1 km above and away from the crater.

Lava flows as long as 2.5 km (1.5 miles) advanced in the Ceniza (SSW) drainage.

Abundant ashfall, produced mainly by pyroclastic flows, is falling on Panimaché I and II, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde Estate, Alotenango and Antigua Guatemala.

There is also a likelihood of ashfall in the Guatemala city.

INSIVUMEH warned new pyroclastic flows are possible in any of the main ravines, urging everybody to remain out of them.

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Fuego entered its 4th eruptive phase of the year on November 6, with weak to moderate explosions and ash plumes rising up to 4 800 m (15 700 feet) above sea level. Weak sounds similar to train locomotives were heard every 8 to 14 minutes.

Ash fall was reported in Panimaché, El Porvenir, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Finac Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa.

The incandescent material was seen rising 200 – 300 m (650 – 1 000 feet) above the crater, generating avalanches and impacting the vegetation towards the Seca and Taniluya and feeding a 1 000 m (3 300 feet) long lava flow.

People living in areas near the volcano are urged to follow instructions given by community leaders.

Featured image credit: Carlos Paredes

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