Ecuador's president has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity in the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital of Quito.

Saturday's decree by President Rafael Correa gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to deal with any problems.

Eruptions beginning Friday have shot ash more than two miles (five kilometers) into the sky, spreading fine gray powder over roads, homes and cars in the region as far as the capital 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the north.

Presidential legal secretary Alexis Mera says further ash explosions and some pyroclastic flows on the volcano's western slopes Saturday led officials to evacuate some nearby villages.