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Smoke and lava spew from the Villarrica volcano as seen from Pucon town south of Santiago

Smoke and lava spew from the Villarrica volcano, as seen from Pucon town south of Santiago, March 3, 2015. Villarrica volcano went quiet on Tuesday after an eruption that sent a plume of ash and lava high into the sky in the early hours put Chile on high alert. REUTERS/Claudia Bucarey (CHILE - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Chile's Villarrica volcano is heating up

Chile is issuing an alert over increased activity at Villarrica volcano.

The 9,000-foot (2,847-meter) volcano is located in Chile's central valley some 400 miles (670 kilometers) south of Santiago. It's one of South America's most active, and it has a lava lake within its crater.

Tens of thousands of people live nearby, and it's a popular tourist and skiing destination.

National volcanic surveillance chief Luis Lara said Monday that "there's a high chance of active eruptive activity."

Meanwhile, the national emergency office says it has been preparing plans in case evacuations are necessary. (AP)

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