Ecuador President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency as Ecuador's most active volcano, Cotopaxi, spewed ash, raising alarms that hundreds of thousands living near it were in danger.
Officials have been keeping wary watch after the volcano rumbled on Saturday, leading to the state of emergency declaration. It last major eruption was in 1877, The Associated Press reported.
Some evacuations already have occurred, but about 325,000 people live in nearby areas and are at risk from mud slides and rock current should the activity worsen. The volcano has erupted more than 50 times since the 16th century, according to Oregon State University's Volcano World.
Correa has prohibited reporting on the volcano activity except from information that comes from the government, which he has said is intended to prevent panic or keep people from ignoring real threats, according to reports.
Activity from a handful of volcanoes in Latin America has been recorded on video this year. A Guatemala volcano spread ash over a couple of towns in February and Costa Rica's Turrialba threw ash more than a mile high in May. In Nicaragua, an eruption at Telica volcano surprised people hiking on it and set off micro-earthquakes.