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Underground fire in Gloucester still burning

An underground fire in Gloucester continues to burn, but does not threaten property. The rare fire is burning in an underground area near the intersection of Burleigh Road and Route 17, encompassing approximately two acres, according to Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief J.D. Clements.

Clements said the fire has burned for about two weeks. He thought a rainstorm last week that saturated the ground had extinguished the fire, but discovered over the weekend that it continued to burn.

Clements said the fire is fueled by a layer of organic duff, which is formed when fallen leaves slowly decompose. Layers of duff had built up, he said, ever since the area was last timbered.

Usually, the layer of duff stays relatively moist, but because June and the early part of July were extremely dry, the layer lost most of its moisture, becoming fuel for the fire, which initially could have been started in a number of different ways.

He said the Virginia Department of Forestry was calle...

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