Underground mine fires remain a concern for mine operators, posing a health and safety risk to mineworkers. In the last decade, the number of mine fires has decreased significantly. However, dealing with an unknown fire in underground mines can be a challenging task, which could lead to a hazardous condition for miners during an evacuation and rescue operation. A timely detection of a mine fire and monitoring its characteristics—namely, size and location—are of great importance in reducing the risk of mine fire injuries. A new, improved fire location algorithm has been developed and integrated into an atmospheric monitoring system (AMS) program by researchers from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This paper describes the new fire location model and presents the results of verification fire tests conducted at the Safety Research Coal Mine (SRCM) facility of the Pittsburgh Mining Research Division (PMRD) using the collected AMS data. NIOSH is endeavoring to develop workplace solutions to improve the detection of and reduce the risk of hazardous conditions in mines. The results demonstrate successful application of the improved fire location model and provide a useful tool for solving the problem of unknown fire location and reducing the risk of hazardous conditions.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:559–566, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00314-6