Calamity Hollow Mine Fire Project (in five parts): 5. Excavation and evaluation of the fire zone
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Calamity Hollow Mine Fire Project (in five parts): 5. Excavation and evaluation of the fire zone

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      "The Bureau of Mines has demonstrated a new technological approach that utilizes controlled in situ combustion to bring fires in abandoned coal mines and waste banks under control. This new technology involves the accelerated combustion of "waste" coals in situ under controlled ventilation conditions, which allows for total management of the combustion products, including utilization of the heat produced. This concept could significantly lower the costs for reducing the environmental and public safety hazards associated with waste coal fires and lead to the conversion of a coal waste to a coal resource. The burnout control technique was demonstrated at the site of an abandoned coal mine fire in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Following a 4-month continuous operation of burnout control, a novel water injection-fume exhaustion technique was utilized to "rapidly" cool the underground heated zones before the 1 1/2-acre fire site was excavated and backfilled. Borehole temperatures greater than 200 degrees c (392 degrees f) correlated with observed burned and/or coked regions. Water injection-fume exhaustion lowered strata temperature to an average of 160 degrees c (320 degrees f) resulting in minimal gas outbursts and only two local instances of flaming combustion during excavation. The excavation analysis supports the effectiveness of both burnout control and water injection-fume exhaustion techniques for control of fires in abandoned coal mines." - NIOSHTIC-2 NIOSHTIC no. 10004863
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