Guatemala volcano spits lava and ash

GUATEMALA CITY Sat May 19, 2012 1:16pm EDT

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GUATEMALA CITY May 19 (Reuters) - Guatemala's Fuego volcano belched burning lava and black ash into the sky early Saturday, leading the government to issue an airplane advisory and close sections of highway.

The volcano, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the capital, erupted about 2:45 a.m. (0745 GMT), spewing a column of ash up to 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) above the crater and launching burning red lava nearly 1,300 feet (400 meters) high.

The national emergency commission issued an advisory, warning planes not to fly within a 25-mile (40 kilometer) radius of the volcano. The La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City remained open.

The commission also closed two stretches of highway threatened by lava flows that reached the base of the mountain.

Guatemala's four active volcanoes have a history of causing shut downs. In 2010, an explosion at the Pacaya volcano about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Guatemala City coated the city in a thick layer of black ash and rock, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate and closing the international airport. (Reporting By Mike McDonald; Editing by Bill Trott)

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