Fire continues to burn

Fire continues to burn

An underground fire that was discovered a year ago in Northern England in a disused coal mine is still burning and experts have no idea when it will stop.

The fire was first spotted at Ryton in the county of Tyne and Wear when walkers made an emergency call to firefighters when they saw smoke billowing out of the ground.

Since then officials have said they believe it is burning in the Clara Vale colliery which closed 50 years ago and that the source of the blaze may be two former ponds which were filled with spoil and aggregates from the mine.

Workmen have tried to smother the blaze at the site, with eight miles from the centre of the city of Newcastle, by smothering some of land with ‘thousands of tons’ of clay. However experiences of undergrounds fires around the world suggest they have been fighting a losing battle.

Fires started by coal seams have been known to burn for many years. One seam, Burning Mountain in New South Wales, Australia, is thought to have been on fire for 5,000 years after it was ignited by a lightning strike.