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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Centralia | The Pennsylvania town of eternal fire

Centralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, USA, founded on the zone with the greater concentration of anthracite of the planet. At least on a small part of it, since the deposits of this mineral are extended under an area of ​​1,250 square kilometers.

Centralia, Inhabited by more than 2,000 people, whose underground coal deposits made it a bustling business center during the early 1800s. XX. But in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active, since to turn it off would be too costly for the state. Despite the attempts to open wells to relieve soil pressure and gases, it was not possible to reduce the risk of explosion, so that in the early 1980s the few remaining inhabitants left the village.


entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

On May 7, 1962, three weeks before this date, the Centralia people's council was concerned that the bad odors of the landfill, which was very close to the cemetery, would ruin Memorial Day.

The landfill was actually a ditch of 91 by 23 meters and a depth of 15 meters that had been part of an old outdoor mine. Pennsylvania state regulation prohibited the ignition of garbage in the coal mines, predicting that it was not necessarily a good idea. But even so, on  May 27, 1962, a day before Memorial Day, Centralia decided that the garbage would burn. They did not want the fire to burn in the wild: the intention was to keep the fire under control at all times and to control it with hoses.



entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

After two days the fire in the ditch was suffocated, apparently without incident, the flames reappeared at the landfill, and a few days later it was discovered that a hole of 4.6 meters in diameter had appeared at the foot of the north wall of the trench and that it was plugged with garbage, which prevented the passage of water and other agents used to drown the flames. The hole had connected the fire with the tunnel of one of the area's former coal mines. The fire began to spread beneath the surface, slowly spreading among the underground coal deposits.

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

It was even tried to cut the fire by digging other ditches between the affected area and the deposits that were not yet burning but, because of lack of resources and excessive bureaucracy, the excavation work was not able to be carried out fast enough to overtake the fire.

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr


In the decade of the 60, with the coal production waning, there were about 1,100 inhabitants. In 2013, there were only 7 residents remaining. 

Today, Centralia fires are spread over an area of ​​about 15 square kilometers and, at the rate at which it is on fire, it is estimated that the Centralia fire can burn for another 250 years.

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr

entralia a major mining town of Pensylvannia, in 1962 when some workers were preparing to clean the landfills. The fire penetrated the galleries of the mine, causing an unstoppable fire in the ground, which today is still active.
Photo Source - Flickr


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