Julie Owen and her three young children spent a rare day outside playing on Wednesday.
Owen and her 5-year-old son both have respiratory conditions, and smoke from the fire burning underground in the field across the road has kept them indoors most days this summer.
"We have asthma, so it bothers us if we come outside, if the wind is blowing in the right direction,” Owen said.
The fire, which started May 27, is burning a natural peat moss in the soil called Muskego muck.
Hot, dry conditions are fueling the fire, which burns five feet below the ground in some places.
“It gets to a point where it spontaneously combusts the dead growth of the peat moss,” said First Consolidated Fire District Chief Clint Canterbury.
But the two options for extinguishing this type of fire, flooding the field or digging the fire up, are not possible because of its size, which now spans 15 acres.
“If you think of it as a swimming pool, a 15 acre swimming pool, up to five feet deep. That's a lot of volume of water,” Canterbury said.
Muskego muck fires can burn for months, and even years. Fire officials said that smoke from the fire is not hazardous, but it is irritating.
People from as far away as Bucyrus have complained of the smell.
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