Nicaragua volcano spews ash cloud, residents evacuated

The Nicaraguan government called on residents near the San Cristobal volcano to evacuate after it belched an ash cloud hundreds of feet into the air.

MANAGUA — Nicaragua's tallest volcano has belched an ash cloud hundreds of feet into the sky in the latest bout of sporadic activity, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents, the government said on Wednesday.

The 5,725-foot San Cristobal volcano, which sits around 85 miles north of the capital, Managua, in the country's northwest, has been active in recent years, and went through a similar episode in September.

The latest activity began late Tuesday.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo called on residents who live within a 1.9-mile radius of the volcano to leave the area. Around 300 families live near the volcano.

VIDEO: Nicaragua volcano spews billowing ash cloud

"We have some families who have self-evacuated ... We ask (the people) to go to a safe place; it's just for a few days during this emergency," Murillo said.

A billowing grayish cloud drifted sideways from the volcano's peak on Wednesday.

The volcano also stirred in mid-2008, when it expelled gas and rumbled with a series of small eruptions.

(Reporting by Mexico City bureau)

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