Richland County Disaster and Eemergency Services (DES) recently assisted the Abandoned Mine Lands Program and Hurley Enterprises with creating a fire break around three coal-vein fire sites within Richland County.
Property owner DIck Iverson contacted officials about the issue after finding two coal seam fires on his ranch which had been started by grass fires in the area. The fires are thought to have started in 2017. The coal veins have been burning underground for at least 3-4 years and have started multiple grass fires since discovery.
Research determined the site had at one time been a wagon mine.
Due to the current dry conditions, it was determined that work toward extinguishing the underground fire should wait until better weather conditions prevailed.
Concerned about the possibility the coal seam fire would ignite the grasslands in the area, officials did decide a fire break would be a good idea.
While Hurley Enterprises created the fire breaks , a third seam was located.
The fire breaks consist of the removal of vegetation around the seams.
Creating the fire break is a precaution to stop any further fires from starting, until a future excavation can be done to extinguish the fires.