Underground Fire has Been Burning in Colorado for Over a Century
If you've lived in Colorado for long enough, there are probably a few wildfires in the state's history that you remember well. In Glenwood Springs, the most famous fire is likely the Storm King Mountain Fire which took numerous lives.
However, just outside of Glenwood Springs near the town of New Castle, another fire has been burning for over 100 years, but this fire is actually burning underground.
New Castle Colorado's Underground Coal Seam Fire
A coal seam fire is a fire that burns underground, typically where coal mining once took place. The fire can be started by a variety of different events including lightning strikes and spontaneous combustion which have been known to ignite methane gas produced by the act of mining coal.
There are over 200 coal seam fires in the United States currently burning underground, but one of them might be right in your backyard.
The coal seam fire near the town of New Castle has been burning underground for over 120 years and while it remains relatively stable, there are times when it becomes noticeable above the surface.
For example, in 2002 this coal seam fire sparked a wildfire near Glenwood Springs that devoured 30 buildings. In addition, sometimes the 120-year-old fire releases smoke from under the ground, causing concern from the locals.
The coal seam fire is also often noticeable in the winter as you can often spot parts of the mountain in which snow doesn't stick due to the temperature of the ground.
While the coal seam fire has remained pretty quiet over the last 120 years, it's important to understand that it's there, burning underground right here in Colorado.