Thousands return home as Guatemala eruption eases

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The Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, spews a plume of ash as seen from San Juan Alotenango, Guatemala, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. The volcanology institute reported that activity subsided Monday evening. Hundreds of families who heeded the call of disaster coordination authorities to evacuate 10 communities began returning to their homes Tuesday. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Thousands of Guatemalan villagers are beginning to return home a day after being evacuated due to an eruption of the Volcano of Fire.

National disaster agency spokesman David de Leon says volcanic activity has subsided at the 12,300-foot (3,763-meter) high mountain, though it's still periodically spitting out ash and rock. He says officials are helping evacuees return home.

Officials evacuated nearly 4,000 people Monday after incandescent material burst as high as 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) above the crater and flows of hot rock and ash extended nearly 2 miles (3 kilometers) down one flank of the volcano.

A June eruption at the volcano caught many people unprepared, burying whole communities. At least 194 died and 234 are still reported as missing.