The nearly 18,000-foot volcano – Popocatepetl – Popo for short and known as Don Goyo to Ochoa and other locals – has rumbled to life anew: spitting ash, steam and brimstone, flaring an ominous orange along its night-shaded rim.
Scientists say no serious eruption seems imminent, that the mountain’s fevered breath provides a healthy release of the fury within. But with some 25 million people living within the volcano’s reach, officials are taking no chances. They’ve issued evacuation alerts for the nearly 60,000 people living in the farm towns and villages in the likely path of any lava flow.
“It’s our obligation to be alert, keep our guard up,” President Felipe Calderon said Friday at a conference outlining the precautionary measures being taken by state and federal government. “We suggest that people teach themselves how to get out … that in the remote chance they have to evacuate, they know exactly how to.”