Bariloche on red alert, following the eruption of Chilean Puyehue Volcano

Bariloche on red alert, following the eruption of Chilean Puyehue Volcano


Smoke billowing out of the Puyehue Volcano
Photo: Martin Iniguez/AP

Following the recent eruption of the nearby Puyehue Volcano in Chile, the town of Bariloche has been covered in ash and has been put on red alert. City Mayor Marcelo Cascón informed the community that the water supply is intact, and they do not anticipate any problems regarding its contamination, although citizens are urged to limit their use of water during this difficult time. They do not expect the town’s electricity to be affected either. All passes to Chile have been closed, as well as the local airport, while the ash continues to fall. This rain of ash could continue through the night, but the situation would be the same as that experienced so far. Citizens are urged to stay in their homes, keep all doors and windows closed, and limit their use of cell phones. Once the ash has cleared from the skies, it is recommended to sweep it from rooftops, similar to after snowstorms. City public transit is functioning normally.

We have also heard that everyone that went up to Refugio Frey for ice skating this weekend is okay.

Every hour, there will be further information on civil defense by calling emergency numbers locally: 103/105/106.

Recommendations of the General Directorate of Civil Defense:

What to do if volcanic ash is falling?

• Do not be alarmed, remain calm. Ashes are more bothersome than damaging to health.
• Do not go outside. If outside, seek shelter (eg in cars, buildings), use a mask, handkerchief or cloth to trap dust. No risk of toxic gases, despite the sour smell.
• Do not use the phone, unless it’s something urgent.
• Public information is transmitted by the mass media

At home:
• Close doors and windows and block the flue of chimneys.
• Place damp towels at door thresholds and other places where air may come in.
• Do not turn on ventilators or clothes dryers.
• If the water source is contaminated or has an acid taste or smell, use the one stored in the water heater, water tanks or toilet reservoir (turn off the main water). To purify water, pour 10 drops of bleach for every 4 liters of water. Let stand for 30 minutes, or boil water for 5 minutes.

In your car:
• If possible, do not drive.
• If you must drive, do so slowly (25 Km / h). Remember that ash reduces visibility.
• If the car stops, push it off the road to avoid collision, stay in it.
• Note: Ash is abrasive rock and can damage vehicles and scratch paint.

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Professional Outdoor Guide, specializing in backcountry skiing, heliskiing Stomping grounds: Wasatch Range, Andes Mountains