Mountain Con tunnel fire

Photo of fire in tunnel at Mountain Con Mine.

A mine tunnel fire at the Mountain Con continues to smolder. Authorities say the blaze is staying put and is not dangerous.

Officials believe an ember from a welding job on a drain pipe caused the blaze, which was first reported to authorities Sunday.

Jeff Miller, Butte-Silver Bow director of fire services, said Tuesday that firefighters found flames burning hot underground after opening the area with a backhoe. The fire is burning timber and other remnants in the tunnel.

"It's not going anywhere," Miller said. "The hoist house is safe."

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"The danger has been mitigated."

Fire crews were on scene Sunday when a neighbor reported smoke billowing from the tunnel and extinguished the flames. Additional work was done on Monday.

Miller said fires like this are rare but not unheard of. A similar blaze happened about seven years ago at the Kelley Mine. Someone welding also sparked that one.

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