There is a multitude of information on this fire online, as it has been widely publicized over the years. This is also due to the unofficial fame as a tourist attraction, and the fire still burns to this day. The following information is from DEP.
“In 1811 a town known as Bull’s Head (later called Centreville) preceded the official incorporation of Centralia Borough. Coal was first mined in the Centralia area in 1842 and the Centralia Colliery was opened in 1862. In February 1866, Centralia Borough was incorporated.
The Centralia Mine Fire has been burning in the abandoned deep mine workings of the Buck Mountain Coal Bed since May 1962. The fire reportedly originated as an intentional controlled burning of residential trash in an abandoned strip pit (surface mine). The strip pit had been left open after being excavated around 1935 and was approximately 75 feet wide and 50 feet deep. It is believed that the lack of a properly constructed non-combustible shale barrier in the strip pit enabled the trash fire to spread to adjacent carbonaceous refuse material and then to nearby coal mine workings.”
Our aerial photos showing the remains of the town.
PA Department of Environmental Protection, “Centralia Mine Fire Resources”