Images Capture Spectacle of Indonesian Volcano Eruption, Evacuations Underway

evacuated residents of seven villages within a nearly 4-mile radius of a volcano on the remote island of Halmahera in Indonesia, after it erupted and spewed ash about 2.5 miles into the sky.

Reuters reported that Mount Ibu erupted on Saturday night, turning the sky into a spectacle of gray ash spewing out of the with flashes of purple lightning.

A crew consisting of members of the police, military and search and rescue services was sent to the area to evacuate residents from surrounding villages, according to a statement from the disaster mitigation agency.

The joint team reportedly assisted the elderly with evacuating the area while residents were moved out of the area in pick-up trucks and taken to emergency tents to spend the night.

The agency did not specify how many people had been moved, though authorities recommended a 7-kilometer, or 4.35-mile radius be evacuated.

Mount Ibu erupted last Monday for about five minutes, just days after it erupted on May 10. The eruptions caused the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation to raise the alert level for the volcano from 2 to 3, which is the second-highest level.

Officials advised residents and tourists not to conduct any activities within 3 miles of Mount Ibu’s crater. More than 13,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the northern side of the crater, Hendra Gunawan, chief of the Volcanology and Mitigation agency said.

Mount Ibu is a 4,347-foot volcano on the northwest coast of the remote island of Halmahera.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, has 120 active volcanoes. It is prone to volcanic activity because it sits along the a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

On Thursday, the agency raised the alert level to the highest level, following several eruptions.

On May 11, flash floods and cold lava flowed from Mount Marapi, one of the most active volcanoes in West Sumatra province, into nearby districts after torrential rains, killing more than 60 people.

North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano also erupted in recent weeks, prompting authorities to evacuate over 12,000 people from a nearby island.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.