Mining Publication: The Status of Mine Fire Research in the United States
During the time period from 1990-2007, 1601 reportable fires occurred in the U.S. mining industry (an average of 89 fires per year). The leading causes of U.S. mine fires were flame cutting and welding operations, frictional heating and ignitions, electrical shorts, mobile equipment malfunctions, and spontaneous combustion. The fact that mine fires continue to occur with an alarming regularity reinforces the importance of recognizing and eliminating the potential hazards and the overall need for improved fire control and suppression technology to ensure the best possible outcome during a mine fire. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting an evolving comprehensive program of research that is addressing mine fire prevention, detection, management and suppression. This paper presents a summary of recent research accomplishments and provides an overview of the next phase of the NIOSH mine fire research program.