The matter of coal chitters smouldering within areas of the Local Government Area (LGA) was raised at Lithgow City Council's extraordinary meeting on Monday, January 13.
Coalbrook Street resident Allyn Jory, expressed her concerns in public forum on the chitter and underground mine.
"I suspected a coal seam fire that might've been happening in the Hermitage Mine that got recapped.
"I noticed on Monday (Jan 13), heavy duty equipment came in and the firies came in and looked around so I wandered around with them and kept an eye on it," she said.
She said the RFS confirmed a spot of 100 degrees on the ground and a part where a building across from the mine entrance possibly had chitter.
"It's just a bit scary living so close to them, it's heavy on the heart and you wonder what's happening now?"
"It's [the building] got a lot of ash and if you step in there there's a lot of heat," she said.
Ms Jory said she was thankful that Council was looking into the matter but she was concerned about exposed coal seam mapping.
"Council have said about doing underground mapping and looking at the chitter but what about the exposed coal seams?
"I still feel that on the top of the ridge, a coal seam did get hit the day that it blew," she said.
She said there was still a threat of potential disaster not knowing where the existing coal seams are.
"It's just a bit scary living so close to them, it's heavy on the heart and you wonder what's happening now?
"I just have in my head right, well it's something to be aware of and how do we manage it once those fires start smouldering?," she said.
Ms Jory said she acknowledged the fact Lithgow was a colonial, post-industrial site but there was a need for reassurance.
"I know from talking to other people they've never seen anything like those fires.
"I'd like to Commend Council for looking into this because if these fires are going to reoccur with this seasonal change the actual underpinning of our community would be old mines," she said.
In response Council's general manager Graeme Faulkner said a lot of work had been done on identifying coal seams and mapping.
"We have a number of venues to inspect, we've already had the RFS go out to a number of sites to try and remediate them.
"We've also got the ADF who might be able to come down and assist us.
"Council doesn't have the right plant machinery so we're getting in the resources," he said.
Mr Faulkner said heavy resources were coming down from Resources Regulator NSW for a preliminary inspection of sites.
"They will identify where all the chitter sites are in LGA and if anyone is aware of anything we certainly appreciate the feedback," he said.
He said chitters had only just become an issue with the recent fire despite fires in 1997 and 2013.
"From my understanding there is chitter right throughout Lithgow.
"We've used it under Marjorie Jackson Oval, it's been used as road base, so I suspect it's going to become a major long term issue for us but we're certainly onto it now," he said.
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