Ash and cinders spewed Saturday from the Colima Volcano in western Mexico, prompting authorities to close the airport in the state capital of Colima and order the evacuation of a half dozen hamlets on the flanks of the peak.

At least 70 people were staying at a shelter by the late afternoon.

The volcano began erupting on Thursday and has become increasingly active, leading officials to issue orders to relocate people living nearby.

Civil protection officials described the volcano's movements as "atypical," a kind of activity not seen since it underwent a strong eruption in 1913.

The Colima Volcano, which sits near the border of the western states of Colima and Jalisco, is also known as the Volcano of Fire.

The officials said Saturday that residents of Yerbabuena, Colima, the first hamlet evacuated, were taken to a temporary shelter. The Jalisco state civil defense office said in its Twitter account that residents of five communities there would be evacuated.

Earlier in the day, 19 evacuees were reported, but the number rose to 70 by the afternoon when explosions of incandescent material shot out as far as 5 miles.

The Governor of Colima, Mario Anguiano, wrote in his Twitter account that the airport just outside the state capital was closed because of falling ash.

The Interior Department reported that 2 inches of ash had fallen on Yerbabuena.

Authorities were standing by ready to evacuate more people if necessary and were planning to distribute surgical masks that people could use to cover their noses and mouths.