February 10, 1999
Mexico 'Volcano of Fire' erupts, forces evacuation

                  GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Reuters) -- The "Volcano of Fire" in western
                  Mexico lived up to its name Wednesday by spewing lava and clouds of
                  poisonous gas, forcing authorities to evacuate nearby villages, officials said.

                  "There have so far been five internal explosions," German Pinto, deputy civil
                  defense chief of western Jalisco state, told Reuters.

                  Pinto said the explosions began at 1:56 a.m. local time (2:56 a.m. EST),
                  sending a cloud of carbon dioxide, sulfur and water vapor towering three
                  miles above the volcano, which is located about 300 miles northwest of
                  Mexico City.

                  He said lava from the 14,320 foot Colima volcano, known locally as the
                  "Volcano of Fire," had set fire to some grazing land on its northern slopes.

                  A statement from Jalisco's civil defense department said authorities had
                  evacuated 118 people from three villages near the volcano and might have to
                  evacuate another two communities, but "everything will depend on the
                  colossus's activity."

                  The Colima volcano last erupted in November, when it forced the
                  evacuation of two villages.

                     Copyright 1999 Reuters.