Town - Crap! We accidentally set a coal seam on fire.
Some guy with backhoe - Hey, give me less than $200, problem will be fixed.
Town - Well, we need to do all the paperwork, give us a bit.
Guy, some time later - Sorry town, it's too big for me to fix.
Mine owner - I'll fix it for free, if you let me keep any unburned coal I dig up.
Town - Sorry, we've already taken bids to fix it, no can do.
Town - Crap, while we were taking bids, it got too big for anybody local! State? Fix this!
In case you didn't follow the link in bladespark's riff:
Over the years, various state and federal funded attempts to dig the Centralia fire out proved to be unsuccessful, for a variety of reasons. One is that the projects were designed around the amount of money willing to be spent, not the amount needed to properly do the job.
The article has a good bit about mine fires and how to put them out as well as being an account of remarkably expensive cluenlessness at multiple government levels.
Title snagged from a comment by sparkindarkness.