MEDAN, Indonesia (AP) — A volcano in western Indonesia erupted for the second time this week on Tuesday, forcing some villagers who were just returning home to flee the mountain again, an official said.
Local Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Asren Nasution said Mount Sinabung's midday eruption spewed volcanic ash and thick smoke up to 3 kilometers (nearly two miles) into the air and blew eastward to the hilly resort town of Brastagi.
He added that there are no immediate reports of damages or injuries.
Tuesday's eruption also caused forest fires to ignite on the slopes of the volcano, and black smoke could be seen billowing from two villages, according to an Associated Press photographer on the scene.
The 2,600-meter (8,530-feet) volcano in North Sumatra province first erupted Sunday after being dormant for three years. It spewed thick ash and small rocks that pelted neighboring villages.
Local military chief Lt. Col. Meyer Putong said about 7,500 people had been evacuated as of Tuesday afternoon. They were being sheltered in 12 locations.
Most of them were from six villages within 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) of the mountain in Karo district.
The volcano's last eruption in August 2010 killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because the volcano had remained quiet for four centuries.
Mount Sinabung is among 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheavals due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.