Pennsylvania Mine Fire Facts

Here are some facts about mine fires currently active in Northeastern and Central PA

Archabald, PA Mine Fire ???? "NEW !!!!"

(Don't ya' just _love_ the way they put that? :) )

 There is a possible mine fire burning in Archabald, PA near the Valley View High School. A brush fire has ignited the underground root system of the trees. The ground is smoldering and it looks like the center of the brush fire was an old stripping. Office of Surface Mining is looking into the matter and they are planning to dig a trench around the fire. It turns out that the fire is actually a peat bog that is on fire. A piece of heavy equipment was swallowed up when the ground underneath it opened up into a hole filled with hot ash. The District Forester warns all to avoid walking in the fire area as they could fall into a void and be burned alive. There are stripping pits in the area but at this time it is being termed an "Underground Forest Fire" as opposed to a "Mine Fire". A forest fire in the bog, in same area of Miner's Ridge in Archabald in the 1940's burned for four years. It is still possible for culm or a coal vein to ignite. The ground is very dry due to the lack of rain. OSM, DEP and Archabald Fire Department are monitoring the situation carefully. The forest fire has burned for 12 days so far.

Wayne Street Culm Bank Fire "NEW !!!!"

(Again, don't you just _love_ the way they put that? :) )

 A fire has just been discovered burning in a culm bank near Wayne Street in Carbondale, PA. OSM people are on scene and a trench is being dug by heavy equipment around the fire.

Centralia Mine Fire
       The most famous mine fire burning in PA. This fire started when garbage in a culm bank caught fire. The town was torm apart by factions of people who wanted to stay, wanted to move away, or the have the town relocated . Many homes have been bought by the fedral and state government and demolished.  This summer, the last 80 or so people still living in Centralia must vacate their homes.

The Red Ash Mine Fire
       This fire started on the property of the Red Ash Coal Company in Laurel Run, PA. The fire was discovered around 1915. The coal company took measures to put it out, such as sealing openings and flushing tunnels. They though it was out, unitil in 1922 it was in fact found that the fire spread to underground coal seams. It the 1960's people along the border of Wilkes-Barre Township and Laurel Run had to leave homes, schools, shops, and churches because of the fire. Smoke and stream vent from pipes along several holes that connect to the mines. The fire is still burning today. Steam and smoke can be seen from the valley below in several spots.

The New Jersey Coal Company Mine Fire
       A fire broke out in the workings of the New Jersey Coal Company on top of Plymouth Mountain. This occured some time in the 1930's. It is thought to be out.

The West Side Mine Fire
       This fire has been burning off of Dundaff Street in Carbondale since before the 1960's. In the 60's people got sick from the carbon monixide gas and I believe one person died. Close to 600 families had to move out of the neighborhood over the years because of this fire. It is still burning and the site being worked by heavy equipment.

The Powderly Culm Bank Fire
       Also in Carbondale, PA this fire is thought to be out. It was starting in culm banks at the former Powderly Colliery. This site has been dug up and watered down and no sign of fire hears. The fire may have spread to underground coal seams and evidence of it may not be visible.

Beaver Brook Mine Fire
       A mine fire has been detected in the boro of Beaver Brook near Hazleton. The mine fire started when garbage dumped in a stripping pit was set on fire.  Officials from the Office of Surface Mining called in heavy equipment to try to dig up the fire. It is not known at the time if the fire has spread to coal seams. This is the same way the infamous Centralia, PA fire started.

  Other Underground Coal Fires

 There are other places in Pennsylvania and around the world where underground coal fires burn. Pennsylvania has over 250,000 acres of abandoned mine lands and has >1/3 of the nations mine problems. There are over 45 mine fires burning across Pennsylvania. There are five underground fires in Allegheny County, five in Percy County, one in Westmoreland, and others in more isolated areas. There are also fires in Findlay Twp., West Elizabeth, Plum, and Clinton. "In all, the DEP estimates about 1,300 acres across the state are on fire underground." (Glover, 1998). One particular town, Youngstown, is under the wrath of the Percy fire that has been burning for over 30 years. There are about 60 homes resting on top of this fire now. Youngstown is reaching the critical decision point that Centralia reached in 1983, either extinguish the fire or relocate the whole town. Estimates conclude that extinguishing the Percy fire will cost $30 to $40 million, and over $650 million to put out all nationwide fires (Glover, 1998).

And here is a better reference for the above citation: Glover, L., May 1998, Burning Beneath the Surface,

   Thanks, Lars! :)

No credit was given for image--site:

 A very large underground fire burns through large coal beds in Northern China. The fires consume up to 200 million tons of coal each year.  This fire is quite a bit larger then the largest Pennsylvania fire (Centralia), releasing almost "as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as do all the cars in the United States" (Kittl, 1999). The Chinese havenŐt really paid much attention to the fire until recently. Now they monitor the fire with heat sensitive satellite photographs. Areas of subsidence have caused very large cracks in the surface and there are areas where one can observe the burning beds above them on the side of a cliff. The Chinese are now taking measures such as burying the coal with dirt and pouring a water-clay mix into surface cracks to cool the fire. They feel the only way to deal with these fires is to try to isolate them and let them burn out (Kittl, 1999).

No credit was given for image--site:

This was the _only_ picture I could find of this one. -Rocks, don't it? :)

There is a large mine fire burning in a remote area of Utah. I have not been as yet able to find out anything at all about that one.

 Mine fires in the arctic??!!

 There is a mine fire in Healy, Alaska.  Cf. "Healy.html".  It rules.
 There is a bituminous shale fire burning in the high arctic.  It is mentioned in "Arctic Dreams" by Barry Lopez.  I fully intend on visiting it some day.  -You can be sure that my dad just _loves_ that idea.  :)