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Colorado officials to investigate underground coal fires

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — State officials are planning to conduct the latest in a series of periodic investigations into underground coal fires along the Grand Hogback formation, which stretches across much of northwestern Colorado.

The Daily Sentinel reported  Monday that the work will help the state formulate plans for responding to some of the fires, which could lead to wildfires.

There are about 30 fires burning along the Grand Hogback. They generally were started by spontaneous combustion or by explosions or activities related to underground mining, and have been burning for many decades — in some cases a century or more.

Director of Colorado’s Inactive Mine Reclamation Program Jeff Graves says the state abandoned mine lands program spends some $2.5 million to $3 million a year.

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