The Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted explosively on May 4th, 2023, sending fear rippling through nearby communities as it belched a 19,000-foot-high ash column and scorching pyroclastic flow. The ash plumes cast a pall over silent cities and wilds, forcing over 2,000 nearby residents to evacuate.
The Fuego volcano is an infamously active volcano in Central America. It typically erupts every four to five years. The most memorable recent eruption took place in 2018 and decimated the nearby towns of San Miguel Los Lotes and several others. That event was responsible for the deaths of 215 people and left another 215 unaccounted for.
In the days leading up to the eruption authorities closed down the RN-14 route on the volcano’s slopes that connected several towns to the country’s primary tourism spot, Antigua, which is recognised as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.
The Conred disaster center warned folks living in impacted areas of the volcano to heed any orders given by the authorities and also suggested that they avoid a 7-kilometer-wide zone around the volcano. People were reminded to place protective coverings on their water tanks, wear masks to guard against ash inhalation, and clear any fallen debris from their rooftops to avoid property damage.