6000 yr old fire? The underground coal fire that creates what is called “Burning Mountain” (Mount Wingen) near Wingen, New South Wales, Australia was probably started by lightning or spontaneous combustion. At least, that’s the assumption—no one knows for sure because it has been going strong for at least 6,000 years. Scientists believe it may be the oldest known continuously burning coal fire. The blaze moves at a rate of about 1 meter (3.3 ft) each year due south.