Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano erupted Monday afternoon, sending a plume of ash almost four kilometers into the air and starting a number of wildfires. The 5,452-meter volcano is one of the most active in Mexico and has experienced several major eruptions since 1994. While small amounts of ash are expelled almost every day, Monday’s eruption was the largest in weeks and raised the volcano alert level to Yellow Phase 2.
Surrounding roads are now only open to controlled traffic and officials have set up a 12-kilometer restricted access area around the volcano. A time-lapse of Monday’s eruption can be seen here:
Nearly 4.5 million people live within 50 kilometers of Popocatepetl. Of those, 650,000 are in areas considered high risk.