Tourists have been told to keep a distance of 2.5 kilometers from a brewing Mount Bromo. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Mount Bromo Closed to Visitors as Eruption Looms


DECEMBER 05, 2015

Pasuruan, East Java. East Java's Disaster Mitigation Agency has raised the alert level for Mount Bromo to level three on Friday, predicting that an eruption will likely occur within the next two weeks, a Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park official said on Friday.

Tourists are now forbidden to come within 2.5 kilometers of the volcano's crater "as recommended by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation [PVMBG]," said park director Ayu Dewi Utari.

The agency stopped short of issuing an evacuation, despite witness accounts of thicker ash clouds spewing out of the volcano and the increasing magnitude in tremors.

"For now, it is still safe for visitors – if they keep a distance of 2.5 kilometers from Mount Bromo," PVMBG officer Subhan said on Friday.

"We don't need to evacuate residents just yet as any volcanic debris will safely land in the Sea of Sand," he added, referring to the vast plain of sand surrounding Mount Bromo.

The 2,329-meter volcano is one of East Java's main tourist attractions. It last erupted in January 2011, shooting thick clouds of volcanic ash and forcing domestic and international airlines to ground their planes.

Indonesia has seen heightened volcanic activity in recent months, with the latest eruption of Mount Rinjani in Lombok forcing several airports to shut down operations for several days.

Mount Semeru, also in East Java, was closed for hiking and mountaineering activities from Oct. 22 to Dec. 1 due to wildfires that scorched the forests on the volcano's slopes.