Philippine Officials Distribute Masks as Volcano Shoots Ash

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine officials are distributing gas masks to residents living near the restive Bulusan volcano after it spewed another plume of ash.

Scientists said Monday there was no need yet to evacuate any of the six towns in Bulusan's vicinity. So far, only about 200 villagers took shelter in an elementary school.

One of the country's 23 active volcanoes, Bulusan blew ash and steam in 2007 but stopped short of a more powerful eruption.

In the latest spectacle early Monday, a grayish ash cloud rose about 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the 5,150-foot summit.

Chief state volcanologist Renato Solidum, meanwhile, appealed to residents not to steal monitoring equipment on the volcano's slopes. He said it would be of no use except as scrap metal.