Ecuador has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito.
President Rafael Correa’s declaration gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to address the situation.
Cotopaxi is among the world’s most dangerous volcanoes and is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows.
Small eruptions have already shot ash more than 2 miles into the sky, spreading fine grey powder over as far as the capital 30 miles to the north.
Authorities have restricted access to the park that surrounds the volcano and barred mountaineers from climbing the snow-capped peak.
Cotopaxi volcano’s last major eruption was in 1877.