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Problems in the control of anthracite mine fires: a case study of the Centralia mine fire (August 1980).

Chaiken RF; Brennan RJ; Heisey BS; Kim AG; Malenka WT; Schimmel JT
Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, RI 8799, 1983 Jan; :1-93
The Bureau of Mines has conducted a study of mine fires in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania to determine the most effective approaches to fire control in this area. The problems involved in controlling an anthracite fire include the geological and mining conditions in this area, the propagation characteristics of anthracite, the fire control methods available, the hazards associated with these fires, and the marginal effectiveness of past fire control projects. From this general background, fire control options were discussed as they apply in 1980 to the centralia mine fire. Probable effectiveness, feasibility, and costs were assessed. The options evaluated include four excavation plans, flooding, hydraulic flushing, water curtain isolation, mining to construct an underground barrier, burnout control, and relocation of the community. The most advantageous from a technical viewpoint is an excavation method combining complete excavation of the fire zone within the borough with trenching to confine the remaining fire. It appears that for many anthracite fires, as for the centralia mine fire, there are no available control measures that have a moderate cost, are proven effective, and produce minimal disruption on the surface.
Urban areas; Mine fires; Anthracite; Fire damage; Fire fighting; Fire hazards; Flooding; Flushing; Barriers; Mine safety; Centralia mine fire
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Problems in the control of anthracite mine fires: a case study of the Centralia mine fire (August 1980).
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division