Scientists and emergency managers who keep an eye on Washington state volcanoes Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens in case of a future eruption are collaborating with their counterparts from Columbia.
The Colombian experts who are responsible for volcano preparedness around the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, are visiting the two Washington mountains this month. The U.S. Geological Survey says the U.S. and Colombia share similar volcanic risks.
USGS has ruled that Mount Rainier is one of the nation's most dangerous volcanoes because of the dense population centers that are in the path of potential lahars. Some 2,600 students in Orting have an annual drill where they have two hours to hike to higher ground in case of a lahar.
In Orting for annual lahar (volcano) evacuation drill. 3,000 students and staff have 45 min to make it to high ground. Drill starts at 9:30. pic.twitter.com/IwV9Hjmstb— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
Lahar drill underway in Orting. All 2,600 students must evacuate in annual drill. pic.twitter.com/zszqA3G0rC— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
Half-way into Orting lahar drill. It's a 2 mile hike to safe, high ground. pic.twitter.com/py6NzuUGyH— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
Heading to high ground in Orting for annual volcano/lahar drill. Need to get to 30-foot elevation. pic.twitter.com/VVbg662XFB— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
The one reason Orting needs to practice evacuation drills. pic.twitter.com/y7iAR2WhZi— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
Debrief after Orting volcano evacuation drill. Success, tho tho some did not make it to safe zone in target time pic.twitter.com/kfyYChw5ZP— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) May 4, 2017
Nevado del Ruiz, which is similar to Mount Rainier, erupted in 1985 and generated lahars that killed more than 23,000 people, USGS said in a post on its website.
May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington. May 18 will mark the 37th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people.
The public is invited to attend an event on volcano hazards at Orting High School's Performing Arts Center, Thursday at 6 p.m. There will be volcano-related exhibits and presentations by Colombian and U.S. officials about volcano preparedness.