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Bali Volcano Eruption Forces Airport Closure, Mass Evacuations

Bali's most well-known volcano is threatening a major eruption, forcing officials to close the island's airport and thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

The Guardian reports that Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for Mount Agung, Bali's tallest peak, to the highest level over the weekend. The volcano erupted once this past Saturday night and three times Sunday morning, ejecting ash 4,000 meters into the sky.

Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali's primary gateway, was closed for 24 hours, and 25,000 people living near the mountain have left their homes.

The news source reports that Indonesia's national disaster management board posted a message regarding the situation on Facebook: "Continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions accompanied by a weak sound of boom. The rays of fire are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent."

This follows an eruption by Agung in September, the first such activity in over 50 years. That eruption prompted the creation of a 7.5-kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano and the evacuation of 185,000 people, The Guardian shares in another article.

This morning Channel News Asia reported that Bali's airport will be closed for an additional 24 hours, while another 100,000 local residents were ordered to evacuate on Monday. The last major eruption by Agung took place in 1963 and killed over 1,000 people.

[Photo via the New York Times]

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