PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On May 27, 1962, a dump fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania ignited a blaze in underground coal deposits. Now, 56 years later, it’s still burning — and some estimates say it may burn for 250 years.

Poisonous gases float out of the ground in Centralia, creating dangerous living conditions as the fire burns 300 feet underground and across 8 miles, AccuWeather said. The fire became too expensive to contain, so all the residents — about 1100 people — were relocated.

Now it’s an eerie tourist destination, but Pennsylvania state police try to keep trespassers out of the area.

But the Centralia fire really isn’t unusual and underground mine fires are common around the world. In fact, Australia’s Burning Mountain is believed to have been burning for 6000 years.

Here’s more detail about the Centralia Mine Fire and the reasons behind it.


The Associated Press and AccuWeather contributed to this report.