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Philippine Volcano Spews Smoke

June 22, 1999

LEGAZPI, Philippines (AP) _ A Philippine volcano spewed thick smoke high into the air today and officials said they may order nearby villages to evacuate if the activity continues.

Mayon Volcano, a popular tourist attraction known for its scenic cone-like shape, shot the grayish smoke several miles into the air. The volcano is in Albay province, 210 miles southeast of Manila.

One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Mayon last erupted in February 1994, killing at least 70 people.

July Sabit of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said officials were assessing data to determine whether to order an evacuation. Sabit said initial reports indicated no lava flows.

A reporter in Legazpi, near the foot of the volcano, told Manila radio station DZMM that thick smoke was continuing to billow from the mountain.

After the 1994 eruption, the government closed off an area about four miles around the summit, calling it a permanent danger zone.

The Philippines is in the Pacific ``Ring of Fire,″ with frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

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