How do underground coal fires start?

What are the three main causes of underground mine fires?

The main causes of mine fires include flame cutting and welding operations, friction, electrical shorts, mobile equipment malfunctions, and spontaneous combustion. Preventing fires is essential to the health and safety of mine workers.

Why can’t the Centralia fire be put out?

However, experts believe the fires under Centralia could burn another 250 years before they exhaust the coal supply that fuels them. Why don’t firemen simply put them out? They can’t! The fires are too deep and burn too hot to be fought effectively.

Why are coal fires so hard to put out?

“Unlike timber, coal when it gets hot has massive thermal mass which is very hard to extinguish. … Coal, and particularly brown coal, is very reactive to oxygen, and will generate CO2 and that creates heat. As the coal gets hotter it will eventually get to flame temperature and that coal will burn.”

How long will a coal fire burn for?

The volatile smoke released by the coal can still catch fire and can burn for up to 30 minutes.

What is the longest burning coal?

The longest-burning fire in the world yet discovered is a burning coal seam in New South Wales, Australia, beneath Mt Wingen. It is believed to have started around 5,000 years ago when lightning struck the coal seam where it reached the Earth’s surface.

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How long does coal burn vs Wood?

Being far denser than wood, coal burns more steadily and longer. Coal stoves may need attention only twice a day at most, and they may burn more than two days before they need to be resupplied, depending on the stove.