Last summer, many places around the world experienced wildfires. Fortunately, the firefighters were able to get rid of these intense fires. However, several places around the world have been burning for years or even millennia, in a ‘natural’ and ‘fairly controlled’ manner. These fires were originally witnessed or caused by humans through their drilling activities. Others were a result of ongoing combustion due to the presence of natural gas. Either way, the fires in these places are strangely alluring and beautiful. So, here are some of the many places around the world that are perpetually burning.
Vulcan Mine – Colorado
The Vulcan Mine is one of the 25 burning mines in New Castle, a small town in Colorado. To be specific, this mine has been burning since it exploded in 1896. The explosion resulted in the death of 49 men. Despite the unfortunate event, the mine reopened after several years, causing another explosion that killed 37 men in 1913. The mining activity in the Vulcan Mine continued despite these disasters.
Today, the Vulcan Mine is situated on private property in the southern area of the Colorado river. You can view the fire or smoke from Grand River Park or Garfield County Road 335.
The Gates of Hell – Turkmenistan
One of the most popular places that are perpetually burning is The Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan. Technically known as the Darvaza gas crater, this place in the middle of the Karakum desert has been burning for over five decades.
According to stories, The Gates of Hell was created when drilling activity by a Soviet accidentally punched into a natural gas cavern. As a result, the ground collapsed, and poisonous fumes leaked. Afterward, the Soviets lit the hole to prevent an environmental catastrophe. At first, they thought that the fire would only last a few days or weeks. However, the fiery pit continuously burned decades later.
Despite its foreboding name, The Gates of Hell continues to attract tourists throughout the years. Unfortunately, its blazing glory may soon end. The reason is that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has instructed the government to find a way to put out the fire as of January 2022.
Yanartaş – Turkey
The Yanartaş is a rocky mountain that may look ordinary from a distance. However, when you reach its peak, you will see flickering flames at the side of the mountain. In fact, these fires have been burning for about 2,500 years because of the methane in the vents. Back then, sailors used the massive land formation as a burning beacon. Today, hikers use the flames to cook some food and brew tea.
According to legends, the flaming landscape inspired the creation of the Chimera in the Illiad. As the story goes, a beast with a goat’s body, snake’s tail, and lion’s head resided on a mountain. They sent Bellerophon to the area to slay the monster. As such, he rode his horse named Pegasus and speared the beast.
Many tourists who travel to Turkey visit the Yanartaş. You will need to climb the stone stairs to reach the top. Usually, travelers would take about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the peak. Afterward, you can toast some marshmallows and sausages while you enjoy the beautiful fiery scenery.
Mount Wingen – Australia
Aside from those places that are perpetually burning, another fascinating tourist spot is Mount Wingen in New South Wales, Australia. This famous mountain is a coal seam that has been on fire for 6,000 years and slowly moving at a rate of about one meter every year.
Keep in mind that most coal seam fires would only last a couple of weeks to a month. Mount Wingen’s fire has been on fire for millennia, making it the oldest coal fire on Earth. Because of its popularity, many tourists visit this mountain to witness its sulfur-tinged smoke. However, the continuous fire also damages the vegetation in the area.
Before, the locals believed that the fire in Mount Wingen was due to volcanic activity. After studying the place, it was revealed that the coal seam fire was caused by a bush fire or lightning strike thousands of years ago.
Eternal Flame Falls – New York
The Eternal Flame Falls is a unique body of water in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York. The unique feature of this waterfall is the flickering flame at its center. In fact, the continuous fire in this place defies scientific explanations. After all, it is surrounded by a massive amount of water, yet its flame keeps burning.
The fire in the Eternal Flame Falls is due to natural gas pockets in the area. Sometimes, the flame would die; however, hikers visiting the place would relight it to keep it burning. Today, the existence of the lone fire in the center of waterfalls is still a mystery, especially from a scientific point of view.