The backyard of an Austinmer home has been declared safe after fire crews and other experts spent several days working to extinguish a fire in coal underneath the ground.
NSW Fire and Rescue says the EPA, Hazmat crews and international organisations have worked together to contain the fire, believed to be in coal that was dumped on the property more than 50 years ago.
A spokesman for the organisation told ABC radio it’s possible the coal combusted spontaneously, however they are working to determine how the ‘smouldering’ began.
It’s believed to have come to the residents attention when the ground became warm and began to ‘smoulder’.
Fire crews have excavated the property in a bid to reach the heat source, which has been doused with water and smothered in an attempt at suffocation.
Experts say fires of this nature can be difficult to contain as they are underground, however this is not believed to be in an actual coal seam, but in a pocket of waste that was dumped many years ago.
Investigations continue into the ‘fire’ with drones and robotics will today continue to examine the area (including stormwater drains) to ensure there are not more hot spots.