State plans to reduce risk at burning mine near Meeker

MEEKER I The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety is conducting an underground fire mitigation project at the Black Diamond Mine north of the town of Meeker, having begun Monday and slated for completion by Dec. 1.

The division’s Inactive Mine Reclamation Program wants the public to be aware of the activity as it will involve several large water tanks as well as heavy equipment and construction personnel accessing the area via Lyons Canyon Road.
Smoke and steam may also be visible from the trail system to the west on BLM lands. For safety reasons, public visitation to the project site is discouraged.
The project seeks to mitigate wildfire danger by reducing or eliminating the surface expression of the mine fire by control-burning materials through excavation, quenching with firefighting foam, and mixing with rock and soil. The excavated areas will receive a rock cover following excavation to reduce the potential for vegetation growth around the mine entries.
The Black Diamond Mine fire has been burning underground for decades. It was originally reported in 1930, and prompted the closure of the mine.
In 1938, the mine was re-opened, found to still be burning, and was promptly closed and abandoned.
The mine has continued to burn since then. Two collapsed mine entries vent smoke from the underlying fire, and have surface temperatures exceeding 600 degrees.
Several small wildfires have been ignited from the venting of the underground fire.
Please direct any questions or concerns about the project to the project manger, Tara Tafi at 720-425-4122 or tara.tafi@state.co.us.