Nicaragua's tallest volcano has belched an ash cloud hundreds of metres into the sky in the latest bout of sporadic activity, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents.
The 1,745-metre San Cristobal volcano, which sits about 135km north of the capital Managua in the country's northwest, has been active in recent years, and went through a similar episode in September.
The latest activity began late on Tuesday.
Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo called on residents who live within a 3km radius of the volcano to leave the area. About 300 families live near the volcano.
"We have some families who have self-evacuated. ... We ask (the people) to go to a safe place, it's just for a few days during this emergency," she said, adding it was a precautionary measure.
A billowing grayish cloud could be seen drifting sideways from the volcano's peak.
The volcano also stirred in mid-2008, when it expelled gas and rumbled with a series of small eruptions.