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(WTAE)   I see your great Springfield tire fire and raise you the underground fire of Clairton, Pennsylvania   ( wtae.com) divider line
    More: Strange, large mulch pile, The Blitz  
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6184 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jul 2017 at 10:20 AM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-07-17 07:53:45 AM  
It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.
 
2017-07-17 08:04:51 AM  

lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.


That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.
 
2017-07-17 08:21:46 AM  

nekom: oily rags can do it


Linseed or other grain oils, not petroleum.
 
2017-07-17 08:39:08 AM  
 
2017-07-17 09:29:54 AM  

Turing_Machine: Amateurs:

[img.fark.net image 454x605]
Click for a REAL fire


Was just thinking about that.  Wouldn't that be a kicker if the mulch pile somehow managed to light up a coal seam that nobody knew about.
 
2017-07-17 09:41:01 AM  
img.fark.net
 
2017-07-17 10:21:12 AM  
It's natures way of trying to get rid of the drive thru state.
 
2017-07-17 10:21:14 AM  
I sure hope the get to the Centralia of that problem.
 
2017-07-17 10:22:24 AM  
Crap, I hope this doesn't become one of those "inexplicably burning for years" underground fires.
 
2017-07-17 10:25:29 AM  
Underground fires are notoriously hard to stop once started if it's just a mulch pile letting it burn is probably the safest bet.
 
2017-07-17 10:25:48 AM  
Clairton, PA != Clarion, PA, Subby.

Clairton = a coke manufacturing town near Pittsburgh

Clarion = a university town near nothing

/Clarion U grad
//Go Eagles.
 
2017-07-17 10:26:07 AM  
That's Clairton, south of Pittsburgh,  and not Clarion,  which is north of I-80 and closer to Erie.
 
2017-07-17 10:27:34 AM  
As we learned in the Centralia, PA underground fire, these underground fires tend to burn themselves out after a few centuries.

Centralia only has a few hundred more years to go and their fire will be out.

leoddblog.files.wordpress.com
 
2017-07-17 10:31:22 AM  

TheHighlandHowler: nekom: oily rags can do it

Linseed or other grain oils, not petroleum.


Petroleum will do so as well.
 
2017-07-17 10:32:53 AM  

Turing_Machine: Amateurs:

[img.fark.net image 454x605]
Click for a REAL fire


I was thinking of Centralia, as well.
 
2017-07-17 10:37:44 AM  
Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?
 
2017-07-17 10:37:51 AM  

nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.


Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.
 
2017-07-17 10:38:10 AM  
Mulch fire. CSB, my neighbor did this, he always had the city deliver a big pile of leaves to his house for his garden, and one day it spontaneously combusted in his driveway during the night, which was exciting.
 
2017-07-17 10:38:50 AM  
Cover the pile with a layer of dirt. Come back later for the nice high carbon fertilizer.
 
2017-07-17 10:40:06 AM  

cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.


That's some nice alt-physics ya got there, Lou.
 
2017-07-17 10:43:58 AM  

cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.


Well, if mulch fires are caused by all the trapped heat from the decomposition of all that material packed in so close to itself, why not just blow it up?
 
2017-07-17 10:44:15 AM  
Dozens of mulch piles spontaneously combust every year. It's just not widely reported.
 
2017-07-17 10:44:24 AM  

Court Dude: As we learned in the Centralia, PA underground fire, these underground fires tend to burn themselves out after a few centuries.

Centralia only has a few hundred more years to go and their fire will be out.

[leoddblog.files.wordpress.com image 540x360]


Isn't it on the move though?  And if so, would that extend the estimated duration of burn?

on a side note, I seriously want to explore Centralia.  I live only about two hours and change away, and it looks interesting.
 
2017-07-17 10:48:20 AM  
I've already contacted Micheal Bay and sent him a treatment.  Pennsylvania Burning should be a Christmas release.  It follows underground meccha firemen trying to keep two files in Pennsylvania from joining together and incinerating the state.  Complicating the issue is a buried stash of WW II explosives along the path of the fire and a corrupt politician who is worried about cost overruns and a love triangle between the daughter of the inventor of the meccha suits and the tough but young and careless meccha suit driver.

Coolest part:  I don't even have to write a script.  I just send him this, the take Armageddon storyboards, have some Korea film students swap out stuff and we have a movie.  Paris/meteor?  Harrrisburg/gas line.  It's that simple.
 
2017-07-17 10:48:23 AM  

cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.


How does that work, exactly?
 
2017-07-17 10:48:56 AM  

Prof. Frink: cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.

That's some nice alt-physics ya got there, Lou.


Actually this does cause brush fires, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think.  Spraying water on a burning mulch (wood and brush scrap) pile causes the apparent fire to go out and people mistakenly believe the fire is extinguished.

What that really does is create a hard crust or cap of ashes and partially burnt material atop the fire that will then allow small pockets of heat and smoldering material to remain for days.

Then when a wind comes by four or five days later and blows this 'cap' off of the top of the brush pile the fire fully reignites and that's how you get wildfires.
 
2017-07-17 10:49:44 AM  
As usual, the Simpson's prophesied this.
download.lardlad.com
 
2017-07-17 10:49:50 AM  

OrangeSnapper: Clairton, PA != Clarion, PA, Subby.

Clairton = a coke manufacturing town near Pittsburgh

Clarion = a university town near nothing

/Clarion U grad
//Go Eagles.


Ha!   I went to Clarion for one year then transferred to Pitt.   My allergies hated Cooks Forest.
 
2017-07-17 10:50:26 AM  

ChrisDe: Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?


Anthracite provides its own oxygen.
 
2017-07-17 10:53:08 AM  
Without looking at TFA I was hedging bets on coal but mulch will do the same job.
 
2017-07-17 10:53:35 AM  

Prof. Frink: cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.

That's some nice alt-physics ya got there, Lou.


I misspoke. It's not the evaporation, but the dampness of the material. Spontaneous combustion is a runaway oxidation reaction, and for material like that, it's enhanced by moisture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_combustion

They don't have entry on compost, but let's look at hay which will have a similar process.

The process may begin with microbiological activity (bacteria or mold), but at some point, the process has to become chemical. Microbiological activity will also limit the amount of oxygen available in the hay. Moisture appears to be quite important, no matter what process. At 100 °C, wet hay absorbed twice the amount of oxygen of dry hay. There has been conjecture that the complex carbohydrates present in hay break down to simpler sugars, which are more readily oxidized.
 
2017-07-17 10:59:14 AM  

PhoenixInFlames: Court Dude: As we learned in the Centralia, PA underground fire, these underground fires tend to burn themselves out after a few centuries.

Centralia only has a few hundred more years to go and their fire will be out.

[leoddblog.files.wordpress.com image 540x360]

Isn't it on the move though?  And if so, would that extend the estimated duration of burn?

on a side note, I seriously want to explore Centralia.  I live only about two hours and change away, and it looks interesting.


Apparently the next town South of Centralia has also had to be abandoned; the fire grows ever larger.
 
2017-07-17 10:59:48 AM  

Court Dude: Prof. Frink: cgraves67: nekom: lycanth: It's spontaneous combustion.  They should have expected it in an unvented mulch pile of that size.

That would be my guess as well.  Happens all the time with large hay piles, even enough oily rags can do it.

Foolishly, they poured water on it, which will only build up more heat as it evaporates.

That's some nice alt-physics ya got there, Lou.

Actually this does cause brush fires, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think.  Spraying water on a burning mulch (wood and brush scrap) pile causes the apparent fire to go out and people mistakenly believe the fire is extinguished.

What that really does is create a hard crust or cap of ashes and partially burnt material atop the fire that will then allow small pockets of heat and smoldering material to remain for days.

Then when a wind comes by four or five days later and blows this 'cap' off of the top of the brush pile the fire fully reignites and that's how you get wildfires.


This is correct. Plus, what is limiting the decomposition that generates the heat is often lack of water, so spraying water on it sometimes ends up helping the pile generate more heat.  You have to spray and stir to break it up and that  part can be hard to do with a giant pile. Making a giant pile is really dumb.
 
2017-07-17 11:10:38 AM  

dready zim: Without looking at TFA I was hedging bets on coal but mulch will do the same job.


PA, and Underground Fire? Yea, Coal would've been the number one answer.
 
2017-07-17 11:14:51 AM  
Also, never, ever, ever store wet hay.
 
2017-07-17 11:14:56 AM  

Turing_Machine: Amateurs:

[img.fark.net image 454x605]
Click for a REAL fire


I thought this would be about Centralia, too, and when I learned it was close but no cigar, I started wondering WTF is wrong with PA that underground bits of it keep catching on fire?
 
2017-07-17 11:20:28 AM  

PhoenixInFlames: Court Dude: As we learned in the Centralia, PA underground fire, these underground fires tend to burn themselves out after a few centuries.

Centralia only has a few hundred more years to go and their fire will be out.

[leoddblog.files.wordpress.com image 540x360]

Isn't it on the move though?  And if so, would that extend the estimated duration of burn?

on a side note, I seriously want to explore Centralia.  I live only about two hours and change away, and it looks interesting.


I've visited before (used to live in PA) and it's not as exciting as you'd think. More eerie than anything. Cool graffiti all over the place though.

If you want some more eerie PA stuff, check out the abandoned Pennsylvania turnpike. Complete with haunted* tunnels!

*Paranormal activity may in actuality be junkies and vagrants.
 
2017-07-17 11:20:32 AM  

Psychopusher: Turing_Machine: Amateurs:

[img.fark.net image 454x605]
Click for a REAL fire

I thought this would be about Centralia, too, and when I learned it was close but no cigar, I started wondering WTF is wrong with PA that underground bits of it keep catching on fire?


Tons of coal.
 
2017-07-17 11:22:58 AM  
How can a fire be underground and in danger of sliding into a creek bed (from TFA)?
 
2017-07-17 11:23:19 AM  

ChrisDe: Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?


Here's a question for you...  How much oxygen is in the sun?
 
2017-07-17 11:26:44 AM  

Non Sequitur Man: [img.fark.net image 425x212]


img.fark.net
 
2017-07-17 11:29:40 AM  

durbnpoisn: ChrisDe: Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?

Here's a question for you...  How much oxygen is in the sun?


They didn't invent fusion in the mulch pile, dude.
 
2017-07-17 11:30:49 AM  

This text is now purple: ChrisDe: Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?

Anthracite provides its own oxygen.


Or it creates a natural air pump via ventilation shafts that were originally dug to keep miners alive.

I know one mine fire in Colorado like this. The hot air escapes up from the fire through a crack caused by subsidence, creating a vacuum that draws in fresh air from a ventilation shaft. The state tried to bulldoze over the vent and chimney crack, but haven't had luck in smothering the fire completely.
 
2017-07-17 11:31:21 AM  
img.fark.net
 
2017-07-17 11:32:03 AM  

KarmicDisaster: Mulch fire. CSB, my neighbor did this, he always had the city deliver a big pile of leaves to his house for his garden, and one day it spontaneously combusted in his driveway during the night, which was exciting.


My own CSB:

The Mrs almost did this to us.

Couple summers ago she tells me, "Hey, no need to buy bagged mulch this year.  Friend at work told me about a garden place selling it bulk-delivered and I got a great deal!"

"Sweet!", I said, "How much did you order?"

"Oh a ton!", she replied.  I didn't take that literally.  Whoops.


So a week or so goes by.  Knock at the door.  Old dude with ZZ Top beard and overalls is standing there and says, "Where ya want the mulch?"  I tell him to just drop it on the driveway.

We live in an old neighborhood built back in the 40's, so the houses are only about 15 feet apart or so with driveways in between.  He leans back from my front door looking towards the driveway and says, "Ya sure bout that?  Front yard might be better."  At this point my brain finally kicks in and I get that nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I step out front and this guy has a friggin construction-grade dump truck FULL of mulch.  When he lifted the load to dump on the driveway the top of the carry bed was 5 feet higher than our chimney top.   We wind up with a pile of mulch about 6 feet high and 10 feet in diameter.  And yes, it was exactly one ton.

I spent a whole week moving it by hand with wheelbarrow.  Two of my neighbors didn't have to buy mulch that spring either.

When the Mrs finally asked about 2 days in why I was attacking this thing like a maniac every evening after work and poking fun, I showed her some YouTube vids of spontaneous combustion.

I then went outside with her and removed one shovel full of mulch making sure to get deep into the center.  When I pulled it free steam billowed off the pile and the mulch was almost too hot to touch.


Science was learned that day.  My back didn't recover for two weeks.  We now buy bagged mulch.

//CSB time
///tldr; make sure you are prepared before bulk-ordering stuff that can spontaneously ignite
 
2017-07-17 11:34:12 AM  
Louisville, Colorado is on fire.
Deep, in the abandoned coal mines
 
2017-07-17 11:34:26 AM  
"The pile has shifted and is in danger of sliding into the creek bed below," the fire department said.

So wouldn't that take care of itself then?
 
2017-07-17 11:35:04 AM  
If nothing else, this thread has helped me understand why the bags of mulch I helped load at Home Depot got so hot during the summer (plastic bags probably didn't help, either).
 
2017-07-17 11:35:38 AM  

Tr0mBoNe: durbnpoisn: ChrisDe: Underground? Doesn't fire need oxygen?

Here's a question for you...  How much oxygen is in the sun?

They didn't invent fusion in the mulch pile, dude.


It just, like, happened, man.
 
2017-07-17 11:38:34 AM  

TheHighlandHowler: nekom: oily rags can do it

Linseed or other grain oils, not petroleum.


Linseed oil was the culprit here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Meridian_Plaza
 
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