New research paper on mitigating the risks in underground fires
Fires in underground mines may pose a challenge to fire and rescue personnel where the complex environment and multiple influences of a fire are poorly considered during pre-incident planning.
*CTIF Editorial Note: This research paper is specifically on fires in underground hard rock mines, but many of the conclusions can be adapted towards pre-planning of any underground area or other space which is confined and / or has limited access, ventilation and evacuation routes.
Fires in underground mines pose challenges that include the 3-dimensional feature of the mine, long distances filled with smoke and the limited number of routes to access the fire. Existing risks include smoke spread, falling rocks and fires affecting the ventilation flow.
New risks may include the introduction of battery-powered mine vehicles with different fire behaviour, emission of toxic substances and the changing conditions that fire and rescue personnel will face.
This study on pre-incident planning in underground mines applied data from experiments, inventories and design fire studies. A number of questions were considered related to information sources, fire modelling, capturing complexity and using fire scenarios. When performing fire modelling, empirical models could be used to complement other modelling tools.