Second volcano rumbles to life in Guatemala

AFP-JIJI

Two of Guatemala’s three active volcanoes have now rumbled to life, officials said Wednesday, one day after the Santiaguito volcano began belching smoke and showering nearby towns with ash.

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano, in the southwest, over the past several weeks has spewed adjacent towns with soot, forcing the temporary closure last month of a neighboring airport.

Now the Santiaguito volcano in the west has awakened as well, emitting columns of ash 400 meters (1,300 feet) tall above its crater.

Santiaguito, whose peak soars to 2,500 meters above sea level, is located in western Quetzaltenango province.

The sleeping giant began to stir on Tuesday, but officials said that thus far, they have not had to evacuate populated areas nearby.

The 3,700-meter tall Fuego — whose name means fire in English — last month spewed out large columns of ash, prompting an orange alert and forcing nearby residents to wear protective masks.

In 2012, several thousand people were evacuated from Fuego’s slopes after an eruption.

Officials said they are keeping an eye on Guatemala’s third active volcano, Pacaya, in the south. So far, there is no indication that it has been roused from its slumber.