These volunteers thought it would be a good idea to set the dump on fire and let it burn for a time, clearing away all the trash and debris. After all, they reasoned, they’d done this before, and nothing terrible had ever happened. But luck is not a finite resource. This particular fire wouldn’t extinguish on by itself as previous fires had done. Instead, an unsealed opening in the strip mine pit gave the fire a convenient entrance into the mine, chock-full of coal that it could use to burn indefinitely. This wasn’t entirely the fault of the firefighters. The borough council was supposed to have installed a fire-resistant clay barrier in the strip mine pits between every layer of landfill. But oops, they forgot.