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Fuego — A Wonder of Nature and Constant Reminder of Human Fragility

By Mayra Beltran de Daetz

GUATEMALA: Like everybody knows, Guatemala is located in Central America. Our topography is extremely mountainous and we have many volcanos.
In fact, our area of Central America is known as the fire belt. For those of us who live in the city, we enjoy a spectacular view of the nearby volcanoes. Together with a beautiful sunset, the view is one that feeds the soul.
At nights, we can see in the distance the burning lava as it slides down the sides of Guatemala’s most famous volcano, Pacaya. Another famous volcano is known as the Volcano of Fire, or simply Fuego.

For us, nature gives us a nightly show, but for those communities that lay huddled on the outskirts of this colossus activity, it’s not a show that fills these people with joy — only dread.

Since Wednesday August 5, 2007, Fuego has been in full volcanic activity. There are many communities near this active Wonder of Nature, such as: Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango.
These towns are all on orange alert, due to the eruptions of lava, emission of gases and ashes.

At the moment, the activity has diminished, but the nearby residents and the institutions in charge of the national security continue to be on alert.
Instead of praying for rain, like most parts of the world, residents are thankful that there are not rains in the area, since this would produce landslides and worsen the situation.
But there is no denying that Guatemala’s volcanos are a sight to see. For example, Fuego stands at a height of 3,763 meters (12,345 feet), and since the year 1524, history has recorded 60 eruptions.
Scientists classify Fuego as a stratum volcano. That means that Fuego is a conical volcano comprised of multiple layers of hardened lava. What makes these types of volcanos so easy to identify is that they are characterized by a sharp profile and periodic and explosive eruptions.
The lava that flows from its interior and which can be seen from miles away cools down quickly and hardens before it can form the moving rivers of lava that are so popularly known to destroy everything in their paths.
Stratum volcanos, like Fuego, exceed 2,500 meters (8,202 feet).
As majestic as it is, Fuego stands as a constant reminder to all Guatamaltecos just how fragile is the relationship between man and Nature.
Learn more about Mayra:
Mayra Etna Beltrán Molina de Daetz is a native-born Guatemalan who lives in Guatemala City with her husband and teenage son. After attending one of the most noted secretarial schools in the country, Mayra graduated with a secretarial certification — and the ability to speak and write English, as well as, know French.
Yet, she wanted more of a career and so she took architect and graphic design classes at a local university in Guatemala City. Unable to finish her university studies due to finances, Mayra became a stewardess and has over 100 hours in the air.
Yet, she always wanted to be involved with the media and so she returned to school and was able to get a degree in sales and marketing.
As a result, she has worked for a weekly magazine and a newspaper.

I have had opportunity to attend International congresses, in which I have known very important people at the more important international newspapers, which has been a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to have friendships outside of my country.

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