Fires in underground metal and nonmetal mines pose a threat to the safety of underground miners and to the productive capacity of this nation's mines. Contaminated air (smoke, carbon monoxide, and other products of combustion) is the primary life safety hazard created by a mine fire. The most reliable defense against the hazard posed by the rapid spread of contaminated air underground is early warning fire detection and rapid evacuation. This Bureau of Mines report describes the design and operation of four prototype early warning fire detection systems, for underground noncoal mines, presently undergoing prolonged in-mine testing by the Bureau. The systems are described within the context of the underground mine environment.