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Centralia, Pennsylvania: Centralia Mine Fire Team Field Report

Route 61/54, Centralia, PA
7 mi. W of I-81, north of Ashland, east of Mount Carmel. Rt. 61/54.
Gases are considered dangerous, proceed at your own risk. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Centralia Mine Fire.

Centralia Mine Fire

Coal veins burning since 1961, almost all of the buildings and people are gone. Unsafe ground, noxious gases -- be careful. Report...
Centralia, Pennsylvania - Graffiti Highway Returns To The Soil
Centralia Mine Fire: Early, unexpected casualty of the covid-19 virus: the Centralia Graffiti Highway, a three-quarter-mile stretch of former Pennsylvania Highway 61 just south of town. [04/12/2020] Complete Story...
Centralia, Pennsylvania - Party's Over On Post-Apocalyptic Highway
Centralia Mine Fire: Since the early 1990s, a three-quarter mile stretch of Pennsylvania Highway 61 has been closed because the ground beneath it is on fire. [02/26/2017] Complete Story...

Visitor Tips and News About Centralia Mine Fire

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Centralia Mine Fire

The fire was not set by an errant spark or cigarette butt. The town used to annually throw garbage in a pit there and set it on fire. It was never an issue until 1962, when they realized days later that it was still smoldering. The town tried dumping tanker trucks of foam and water down there to douse the fire, but to no avail. It had hit a coal vein. Understand that this is anthracite (hard) coal country; it's hard to put out once it's ignited, especially underground. Eventually they realized it was a lost cause, and hoped it would be a small coal vein and eventually burn out. But it didn't. I've been here probably 100 times or more in my 60 years. 30 years ago you could still drive through the town; very eerie at night because you could see the burning glow in hot spots close to the ground as well as plumes of smoke.

[Michael Engle, 06/25/2022]

60 Years since the mine fire started.

Centralia Mine Fire

60 years ago someone tossed a match or a cigarette butt - or did something else flammable and careless - near an open-pit mine in Centralia, Pennsylvania. It ignited an exposed vein of coal, the fire traveled under the town, and it's been burning ever since. By the mid-1980s most of the town had been evacuated and abandoned, and the road leading into Centralia had been closed due to erupting gases. Yet the town gradually developed a second life as an unofficial post-apocalyptic attraction. There isn't much to see, and signs warn of toxic gases, and in 2020 the old Hwy 61 "Graffiti Highway" was buried in dirt to discourage tourists, but people still visit.

[ Team, 05/27/2022]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Whistler's Mother StatueWhistler's Mother Statue, Ashland, PA - 2 mi.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine TourPioneer Tunnel Coal Mine Tour, Ashland, PA - 2 mi.
Big Mine Run GeyserBig Mine Run Geyser, Ashland, PA - 2 mi.
In the region:
Ephrata Cloister Tour, Ephrata, PA - 44 mi.

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