Indonesia Raises Alert Level for Erupting Volcano

The alert level for a volcano in central Indonesia has been raised after it began spewing hot clouds and lava, a vulcanology official said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The volcano erupted Monday, shooting clouds of smoke and flames into the night sky.

Indonesia's volcanology center said Mount Soputan, roughly 1,350 miles northeast of capital Jakarta on Sulawesi island, billowed smoke plumes as high as 3,200 feet.

The nearest villages are five miles from the crater's mouth, well out of the danger zone, the agency said on its Web site. Although no evacuations were ordered, people were warned to stay at a safe distance because it might spew lava.

Indonesia, a tropical archipelago straddling a major fault line known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire," has more active volcanoes than any other nation. The 3,280-foot Mount Soputan has been one of the most active.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.