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Turkmenistan's leader wants 'Gates of Hell' fire put out

APTOPIX Turkmenistan Gates of Hell
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 12:33:42-05

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country's most notable but infernal sights.

A blazing desert natural gas crater widely referred to as the "Gates of Hell" has been on fire for decades.

It's a popular site for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan.

The Turkmen news site Turkmenportal said a 1971 gas-drilling collapse formed the crater, about 190 feet in diameter and 20 meters deep.

The Associated Press reported that geologists set fire to prevent gas spread, which they expected to burn off in a few weeks.

In 2019, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was seen speeding around it in an off-road truck, the AP reported.

But now, the president has ordered his government to look for ways to put the fire out because it is causing ecological damage and to affect the health of area residents, the state newspaper reported Saturday.