A few days ago I spoke about Las Tablas de Daimiel Park; it was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and Wetland of International Importance in 1982.
At the end of last year an underground fire put this weak ecosystem in very grave danger. The astonishment news spread in all the news TV programs. Personally, I had never heard of this type of underground fire.
But it seems that underground fires are a phenomenon much more common than we think: Currently, there is a town called Centralita in the United States, located four hours from New York City, that has been suffering from an underground fire since the 80s. Only with time, at least a century or two, will put it out.
The fire was declared about a half a century ago, in a large underground pocket coal reserve. Today, the fire continues to consume the coal strata in this region.
In 1962 a burning pile of trash came into contact with the coal subsurface layer in the locality. The fire spread through the bowels of this area. The Centralita inhabitants took numerous actions to extinguish the fire, but the fire spread through the old coal mining tunnels and nothing could be done.
Years passed, and the Centralita inhabitants realized the danger of living in this area: the rate of carbon monoxide in the air was increasing and in 1981 a child died when a crack opened under his feet.
Centralia Today looks like a ghost town, only a handful of residents have refused to leave the area while the bowels of the earth are consumed slowly.