The only source I found is a tweet that does not link to evidence, and I couldn't find reference to this with a quick search.

Coal seams in the Blue Mountains caught fire today, so it’s gone beyond the biomass above ground and into the geological layers beneath the ground.

Have these coal seams caught fire?

  • Is the question because you find it hard to believe, or just because you want to know what the evidence is that it has happened here?
    – PhillS
    Jan 5, 2020 at 9:38
  • 3
    @PhillS I don't find it hard to believe, since this has happened several times (my original question linked to the Wikipedia page for coal seam fires), but I could not find any details or other sources. I also asked how bad this fire would be compared to other coal seam fires. But both of those IMO pertinent parts of the question (which has led to two non-answers already) were deleted.
    – l0b0
    Jan 5, 2020 at 19:06
  • Isn't this "unresolved current events" (and hence off-topic)? I.e., something that a bit of waiting will clarify anyway?
    – DevSolar
    Jan 6, 2020 at 10:38
  • Does a single tweet count as an acceptable source?
    – CGCampbell
    Jan 8, 2020 at 19:23
  • @CGCampbell I thought that was what Skeptics.SE was for - debunking or verifying claims made in public.
    – l0b0
    Jan 8, 2020 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


The answer to your headline question is yes, coal seams in the blue mountains are burning. But that has been the case for the last 6000 years or so as Mt Wingen (Burning Mountain) at the north end of the Blue Mountains has coal seams that have been continuously burning for that long. There are others which seem to have been burning at least since the sixties, and every bushfire season, exposed coal seams are at risk of igniting, so it's not a surprise.

Specifically for this current crisis, there are reports via various Australian local media that there have been ignition points in coal seams near/in Lithgow, for example:

The Mercury Lithgow from 4 Jan 2020:

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24liveblog from 11 Jan 2020:

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  • 1
    The Atlas Obscura article puts this into perspective: "Coal seams are extremely common across the world, and at any time there are more than 1000 burning."
    – l0b0
    Jan 11, 2020 at 19:38

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