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The eruption of Volcano de Fuego in Guatemala closed the main airport for a few hours

The eruption of Volcano de Fuego in Guatemala closed the main airport for a few hours

The eruption of the Volcano de Fuego in Guatemala closed the country’s main airport for a few hours, said the authorities, who have not yet ordered the evacuation of residents.

• Also read: Guatemala: The volcanic phase of Pacaya volcano “is over”

• Also read: Resurgence of volcanic activity in Guatemala

Fuego, which has an altitude of 3,763 meters and is located about 35 kilometers from the capital, Guatemala City, began the phase of a new eruption on Saturday evening, accompanied by explosions, pyroclastic flows and ash forecasts, the National Institute of Volcanology announced.

The General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics said in a statement that La Aurora International Airport in the Guatemalan capital was closed “temporarily” in the middle of the morning, due to “the presence of ash” near the runway.

Civil Aviation Director Francis Argueta said the aircraft resumed operations three hours later, around 6pm GMT. “We decided to resume operations because of the north-south winds,” Argueta said in a video posted on social media.

The closure diverted at least two flights that were supposed to land in La Aurora, one from Miami (USA) and the other from Santo Domingo, and delayed the takeoff of other planes, according to aviation sources.

In addition, a highway linking the south and center of the country was closed on Sunday due to the eruption of Volcano de Fuego (literally: “volcano of fire”), the most active volcano in Central America.

The eruption maintains a “hot fountain” of lava more than 300 meters above the crater and a column of ash rising more than 2 km, according to the Institute of Volcanology, which also warned of new avalanches of burning material.

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In the indigenous village of Alotenango, located nine kilometers east of the volcano, residents witnessed a sudden eruption of lava on Saturday night, turning the sky red. “People are used to it and consider it normal,” farmer Demetrio Pamal, 28, told AFP.

Spokesman Rodolfo Garcia told AFP that the Civil Protection had not ordered a precautionary evacuation but was still vigilant.

On June 3, 2018, Fuego caused an avalanche of burning material that swept through the town of San Miguel Los Lotus and covered part of the road, killing 215 people and leaving a similar number missing.

“With what happened in 2018, the authorities have become more vigilant and active,” said Jose Sol, an Alotenango resident.

Two other volcanoes are also active in Guatemala: Santiagoto (west) and Pacaya, 20 km south of the capital.