Underground Fire Burning in Coal Seam on Dolores Ranger District

DOLORES, Colo., October 17, 2019 – Forest Service personnel discovered an underground fire on October 9, 2019. The Coal Seam Fire is burning along a coal seam just east of FSR #525. The fire has been burning underground since summer 2018 when the Plateau Fire occurred. The seam is extremely hot and will continue to burn for an indefinite period of time producing minimal amounts of smoke and a strong odor of creosote that will be noticeable. The ground in and around the coal seam is extremely unstable and the area should be avoided.

The Coal Seam Fire will continue to burn underground as long as coal resources exist. A team of experts will be brought in sometime during 2020 to gather data on the potential of underground resources present and predict the underground fire activity. While this fire is burning underground, it may at times break through the surface and cause a vegetation fire. Anyone seeing active fire burning above ground in vegetation should immediately notify 911 or contact Durango Interagency Dispatch at 970-385-1324.

For additional information, please contact the Dolores Ranger District at (970) 882-7296