Guatemala City (AFP) - A live volcano whose increased activity this week near Guatemala's capital -- causing ash columns in the sky, explosions and tremors -- sparked an alert subsided on Wednesday, emergency response officials said.
"The eruption of Fuego Volcano has diminished considerably... and this Wednesday it presented a relatively weak explosion considered within normal parameters," a spokesman for the Disaster Reduction National Coordination Committee, David de Leon, told reporters.
The 3,763-meter (12,346-foot) high volcano is located 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Guatemala City.
On Tuesday, officials had declared an orange alert because of the increased activity noted since the day before, which showered fine ash over at least six villages and on the town of San Pedro Yepocapa, in the indigenous province of Chimaltenango. A nearby hotel was evacuated.
De Leon said authorities from the health and agriculture ministries were monitoring the area for possible respiratory problems and damage caused by the ash.
In February, the volcano erupted with such force and so much ash that Guatemala was forced to close the airport serving its capital.
Guatemala and neighboring countries lie on what is known as the Central American Volcanic Arc, a chain of hundreds of volcanoes that forms part of the Pacific "Rim of Fire."
Most are dormant, but some spectacular -- and dangerous -- eruptions do happen.