After being closed to the public for five months due to intense volcanic activity, the tourism area atop Mount Bromo in East Java has reopened.
As reported by the State News Agency Antara, the head of commercial operations at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS), Suwasto, declared the park open once again to the public on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
In making the announcement Suwasto said, "The reopening of the Bromo tourism area has been carefully considered, with three factors influencing our decision to reopen."
The three factors persuading officials that visits to the active volcano are now safe is the recent reduction in volcanic activity; the vast number of people living in the area whose income depends on tourism visits; and the importance of Bromo's participation in the "Visit East Java 2011" promotion now underway.
Suwasto added: "Mount Bromo has been named an icon of ‘Visit East Java 2011.' Thus, in order to attract visitors, the tourism area of Bromo must be reopened."
Although visitors are now being allowed back into the area, they are still forbidden to make the popular final climb up the stairs to the smoldering volcanic cauldron. The TNBTS has posted announcements and reminders forbidding anyone from getting closer than 2 kilometers from the volcano's peak.
The volcano which sits on the borders of Probilinggo, Pasuruan, Malang and Jember is still under a Level III (Siaga) warning – reserved for mountains in a high state of volcanic activity. Bromo continues to regularly eject fine dusting's of volcanic ash over three villages in close proximity to the mountain.
As recently as March 27th the government observation post at Bromo recorded clouds of ash rising to a height of 400-800 meters coming from the volcano. During the same period, seismic activity and lava flows were noted by observers. Government volcanologists are urging the public to prepare masks to protect their eyes and noses when approaching the volcano.
Local populations are also being urged to keep their roof tops free of ash to avoid collapse under the weight of volcanic effluent and to be aware of the danger of falling trees tumbled by the weight of ash and landslides.
[Bali Discovery 5 Days Yogya - Bromo - Ijen Overland Trip]
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