A 2 km security perimeter was established around Turrialba Volcano, in Cartago Province, following several eruptions during December 2016 and January 2017.
A state of emergency was declared in the surrounding area, including the capital of San Jose. Large ash clouds caused a risk of disruption to air traffic in the area, airports in the area were closed, and several international flights were suspended.
Turrialba Volcano has experienced an increased number of eruptions since 2014. Travelers were able to visit the crater, and the surrounding Turrialba Volcano National Park, but following recent eruptions both access to the volcano and the park were closed.
SAFEY Emergency System sent alerts to users in the area that there was increased volcanic activity. Further updates included travel safety advice for what to do during a volcanic eruption, and continuous monitoring of the volcano.
Advice for travelers:
Ash clouds from the volcano may cause breathing hazards in populated areas near Turrialba, and low visibility makes travel by air dangerous. Following continuous eruptions, dry weather and strong winds, the ash has been able to spread over a large area. Effects of a volcanic eruption were experienced many kilometres from the volcano.
Even if you don’t see the eruption mudflows, flash flooding, wildfires, and deadly hot ash flow could still reach those in the surrounding area.
If you are in the vicinity of a volcanic eruption:
- Stay out of the area defined as a restricted zone by government officials; trying to watch an erupting volcano up close is very dangerous.
- Avoid river valleys and low lying areas.
- Evacuate immediately if instructed to do so. Consider transportation routes in your area, and assess the most suitable alternatives for evacuation in case of an emergency.