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Extinguishment of Wasted Coal Fires: A Critical Review--new Directions.

Chaiken RF
Proc Nat'l Symp on Abandoned Mine Land Reclem Bismarck, North Dakota, 1984 May; :457-484
Fires have occurred and are continuing to occur in residual coal in abandoned underground mines, refuse banks, and inactive deposits. Once established, these fires can smolder for many decades, resulting in emissions of toxic and obnoxious fumes to the atmosphere and destruction of property and coal resources. Conventional methods for extinguishing and/or controlling residual (or wasted) coal fires, such as sealing, digging out, isolation, quenching, and/or inundation, have been developed over the years, but their application is often costly and sometimes destructive or ineffective and they are hazardous in themselves. A review of these methods is presented along with an analysis of the technical and institutional problems associated with their successful application. For example, a major technical problem exists in identifying the location of subsurface heat sources and establishing measurable criteria as to when a fire is permanently extinguished. A major institutional problem occurs in evaluating project costs and setting aside adequate funds. Most often these two problems compound each other. Current research and development at the Bureau of Mines is attempting to resolve many of the problems with the conventional methods of fire control and extinguishment.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 72-85
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proc. Nat'l Symp.on Abandoned Mine Land Reclem., Bismarck, North Dakota, May 21-22, 1984, PP. 457-484
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division