Members of the Guatemalan Army clean ashes off the runway of the closed La Aurora airport in Guatemala on Sunday.

CENTRAL AMERICA NEWS (CNN/Reuters) – Guatemala’s Fuego volcano “fire volcano” belched black ash into the sky on Saturday, causing the government to evacuate 100 nearby residents and forcing the closure of the capital’s international airport, President Otto Perez told reporters.

The volcano, about 40 km (25 miles) southwest of the capital, forced the cancellation of flights as Guatemala’s main airport shut down and workers sought to clear the runways of ash.

Guatemala’s national disaster agency says the volcanoerupted Saturday and spewed ashes “to an altitude reaching 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above sea level.”  The smoke and ash forced Guatemala’s La Aurora International Airport to stop all air traffic around the area.

Officials said the amount of falling ash was moderate but urged nearby residents to use masks or wet cloth to guard against breathing dangerous contaminants.

Fuego volcan0 is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes.

It is a popular tourist attraction in Guatemala. Some companies offer “long technical trail tours … not for the faint of heart” to the volcano, but say “most visitors will be content to admire Fuego’s beauty from the safety of Antigua’s cobblestone streets.”

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