When the Nevado del Ruiz erupted in 1985, it wiped out the town of Armero and killed 25,000 people.
Colombia’s Interior Ministry has ordered the fire departments of 19 municipalities in the central Caldas and Tolima departments to be on high alert after the Colombian Geological Survey warned that it is “probable” that the Nevado del Ruiz volcano will erupt in the coming days or weeks.
The national director of the fire-fighting system called for a focus on high risk areas in or near the paths of rivers that originate in the Ruiz, whose levels may be elevated by pyroclastic fragments and melting ice.
The alert level was raised from yellow to orange in March as the volcano became increasingly active. Last week the killer volcano propelled a column of gas and steam approximately 1,200 meters into the sky, prompting a red alert level, the highest alert.