Fire Smolders Underground for 9 Months

By: AP
By: AP

WATSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Officials say an underground fire has smoldered for nine months in West Michigan, filling the air with thick smoke at times and prompting warnings to motorists in the area.

WOOD-TV reports that the fire is in peat moss in Allegan County's Watson Township, about 25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. People living near the swampy field say smoke is making them sick, sometimes forcing them to leave their homes.

Farmer Frank Doezema, who works land where the fire is smoldering, says he believes it started last December when workers were burning brush. The fire prompted Allegan County officials to put up signs warning motorists of "low visibility."

Hopkins Fire Chief Tim McKinnon said his volunteer firefighters have tried four times to put out the fire over the last month.

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