By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We were planning a family side trip to Washington on our next trip to Vancouver. Originally we wanted to spend about a week driving around the state. With all the advisories on about Mount St. Helen's is it safe to travel to Washington?

A: Carrie Wilkinson-Tuma of Washington State Tourism says, "Yes, it is very very safe. If Mount St. Helen's does erupt, it will send some ash and steam into the air, but will travel towards Portland and eastern Washington. There are hundreds of folks visiting the mountain everyday, but from a safe distance."

Over the last week, locals saw a bellowing plume of ash rising rapidly above the 8,364-foot rim of Mount St. Helen's, a US national monument. "The material was observed coming up from several different vents in the crater, so that could mean things are starting to break up," said Jake Lowenstern, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, (USGS) earlier last week in a report to For over a week, the mountain has been emitting steam with slight eruptions and volcanic tremors and continues to be monitored closely.

For a live volcano cam and more information on Mount St. Helen's log onto Experience Washington's web site at At press time, climbing, camping are prohibited on Mount St. Helen's with several roads and trails closed until further notice.


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