Bali volcano's alert status lowered after decreased activity

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Indonesian authorities have lowered the alert status of Bali's Mount Agung volcano from the highest level following a significant decrease in activity.

More than 140,000 people fled Mount Agung after its alert status was raised to the highest level Sept. 22.

Kasbani, a government volcanologist who uses just one name, said Sunday that the decision to downgrade Agung's status was made after several scientific indicators showed its activities were decreasing drastically.

He said the radius of the volcano's danger zone declined from 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) to 7.5 kilometers (4.5 miles) from Agung's crater.

The government volcano agency said the downgrade means villagers who evacuated but do not live in the new danger zone could return home, but should not venture close to the crater, which is still emitting smoke.