Tuesday Jan 13 2009
Auburn featured on cable TV's dirtiest show
"Dirty Jobs" filmed mine closure segment in Auburn
Auburn is about to get dirty. Tonight’s episode of The Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” was filmed during an abandoned mine closure in the Auburn State Recreation Area. The show’s host Mike Rowe was dispatched to work with the California Department of Conservation Office of Mine Reclamation’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit (AMLU) on July 15, during the closure of a 50-foot deep shaft located near the Shirland canal across from a well-used hiking trail within the Auburn city limits. It was discovered after Dewie the dog survived a fall down a nearby mine shaft, as reported in the Journal. Each year, several people typically get hurt or killed exploring or inadvertently falling into abandoned mines in California, according to the Office of Mine Reclamation. There are an estimated 47,000 abandoned mines in California, more than 740 in Placer County and several in the immediate Auburn area that may pose a risk to residents and animals. When the AMLU was approached, they saw working with “Dirty Jobs”, one of cable television’s highest-rated reality shows, as a chance to inform the public about the hazards of mine exploration and the “Stay Out, Stay Alive” message, according to a press release. Rowe, himself, got involved by taking down the fencing and handled the dirtiest element of this job, mixing the bags of polyurethane chemicals that become the foam that seals the shaft. Rowe also got stuck on the way back out, after being lowered into the shaft wearing a safety harness. The OMR crew rescued Rowe from the shaft. It was a good example of the myriad of things that can go wrong when people explore abandoned mines. “It was pretty scary at the time,” said Cy Oggins, head of the AMLU. “If we hadn’t been there to pull Mike out, he could have been in some trouble.” OMR has partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to remediate more than 500 hazardous abandoned mine features in California including bat-compatible closures, fencing, polyurethane foam closures, backfilling, and debris removal. The episode will air at 9 p.m. tonight, Jan. 13, on The Discovery Channel.