February 2016 – GUATEMALA – A restive volcano near Guatemala’s capital spewed ash on nearby towns Wednesday, including on a colonial-era city popular with tourists, officials said. The overnight eruption of Fuego Volcano – whose name means “fire” in Spanish -sent ash billowing up to five kilometers (three miles) into the sky and rivers of lava up to two kilometers long, according to Guatemala’s Volcanology Institute. Light tremors were also felt up to 25 kilometers away.
Strong gusts of wind could carry the clouds of “fine ash particles” to Guatemala City, 45 kilometers distant, said David de Leon, a spokesman for the government’s disaster coordination service. But thus far authorities were maintaining a yellow alert and were not ordering evacuations. However schools in the vicinity were ordered closed. De Leon said the ash had so far fallen on three towns — including Antigua Guatemala, a small, UNESCO-listed city dating back nearly five centuries and which served as the capital until the 18th century. Antigua’s Spanish colonial history and many language schools are a draw for foreign tourists. Fuego Volcano is 3,763 meters (12,346 feet) high and has been active for a long while. In February 2015, it erupted powerfully, prompting an alert and the closure of Guatemala City’s airport. –9News