Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of people have been evacuated from villages near a volcano on Bali amid fears it could erupt for the first time in 50 years.

Authorities warned tourists to avoid hiking or camping within four miles (6km) of Mount Agung as tremors shook the area and smoke rose above the crater, which is 3,000m (9,840ft) above sea level.

“Volcanic activity remains high and there are indications of magma rising to the surface and causing tremors,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the National Disaster Management Agency.

“There should be zero public activity within the specified radius in case there is an eruption.”

Officials said 6,000 people have been moved for safety reasons so far and more would follow.

Some residents in villages at the foot of Mount Agung were reluctant to leave immediately, while others gathered to watch the volcano.

“I’m here with my husband. We need to feed the animals so that’s what we’re doing first,” villager Wayan Suarda told national television station tvOne.

Indonesia straddles the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, where several tectonic plates meet and cause 90% of the world’s seismic activity, according to the US Geological Survey.

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

A series of eruptions at Mount Agung between 1963 and 1964 killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds.

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