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Centralia Mine Fire Tours

Spend two hours in Centralia with author David DeKok [Fire Underground] and hear what he has learned about the ghost town of Centralia’s infamous mine fire in the course of 40 years of covering the fire as a newspaper reporter and writing the definitive book on the fire’s history. He will take you to where the fire started, explain why it was never put out, and tell you about the existential struggle of the people of Centralia with the underground fire–which they accidentally started–that doomed their town. Centralia in a sense was Pompeii in reverse, with the fire coming up from below rather than down from the sky. The two relocations of people in 1981 and 1983 reduced Centralia from a town of 1,000 people and 400 buildings to perhaps four or five of each. He will use large photos to show you how the empty blocks being reclaimed by nature were once a thriving community now vanished. You will go to a location where you can safely feel the heat of the fire. The fee is $200 to cover his time and travel expenses from Harrisburg. Payment by cash (preferred) or in advance by credit card. You may contact him at (717) 439-4159, or

Note: It is rare to see steam coming from the ground anymore, so you should not expect that. As of  February 2017, you can no longer go onto Graffiti Highway to see the graffiti or the huge highway cracks. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has ordered the state police to arrest anyone who goes on the closed portion of the highway, a regrettable and unnecessary move.


“Thanks so much for a worthwhile and enlightening tour of Centralia!”

Harold Young and family, Altoona & Hollidaysburg, Pa., 10-24-2010

“I want to thank you so much for your guidance through the fire-maze of Centralia. My students absolutely loved the experience [and] found your book to be invaluable.”

–Patrick J. Lawler, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 11-1-2009

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