The Bureau of Mines is developing a new technological approach to handling the problems of fires in abandoned coal mines and waste banks. This new technology involves the accelerated combustion of "waste" coals in place (i.e., in situ) under controlled exhaust ventilation conditions, which allows for total management of the combustion products, including utilization of the heat produced. This new concept could significantly lower the costs of reducing the environmental and public safety hazards associated with waste coal fires, and could lead to the conversion of a coal waste to a coal resource. The controlled burnout technology has progressed from the laboratory stage to a full-scale field evaluation stage at the site of an abandoned-coal-mine fire. This first report describes the site selection, evaluation, and preparation, and the design and construction of the full-scale controlled burnout installation. Subsequent reports will deal with the results of the operational field trial.