Guatemala volcano erupts but no evacuations yet

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Guatemala's Fuego volcano began a strong eruptive phase on Thursday, spewing lava and ash in a series of explosions that have not yet forced any evacuations, authorities said.

The eruptions produced a long river of lava flowing down to the base of the volcano, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest of the capital Guatemala City, said Emilio Barillas of the Insivumeh volcano institute.

"Activity that is taking place at the moment corresponds to the beginning of an eruption of strombolian character," Barillas said, using the scientific word for a mix of explosions and lava flow.

Fuego, 3.7 kilometers high (12,240 feet), is one of three active volcanoes in Guatemala.

The recently recorded activity is the strongest since June 2018, when Fuego unleashed a torrent of mud and ash that wiped the village of San Miguel Los Lotes from the map, said Barillas.

More than 200 people were killed.

On Thursday, several communities at the foot of the mountain reported nothing more serious than a downpour of ash, said the national Conred disaster coordination center.

"For now, no evacuation program has been initiated," said Conred spokesman David de Leon, though the situation was being closely followed.

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