National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Mine Features and Hazards


When working in an area, which is known or suspected for past mining activities, be aware of the serious hazard which may or may not be visible.

Surface features at abandoned mines:

  • Mine buildings (mill sites, assorted support structures).
  • Waste rock dumps.
  • Glory holes (large open pits).
  • Trenches and shallow pits.
  • Tailing piles.
  • Chemical hazards (explosives, 55-gallon drums, meth lab supplies).​

Underground features:

  • Vertical openings (shafts, winzes, raises, ore chutes, stopes, ladders, stulls).
  • Horizontal openings (often contain an unforeseen vertical component).
  • Adits (single opening).
  • Tunnels (two openings).

Hazards associated with these features:

  • Rock fall (near portals, highwalls, shaft collars, or ore chutes).
  • Collapse and entrapment while underground.
  • Instability.
  • Perimeter or overhanging rock slips.
  • Trips and falls (especially down a winze/shaft inside an adit).
  • Mine gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane, etc.).
  • Entanglement on wiring and debris within puddles.
  • Collision between your head and the overlying rock.
  • Unknown substances.
  • Explosives, blasting caps, or chemicals.


Misc Fireline Hazards
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Oct 2022

Have an idea or feedback?
Share it with the NWCG 6MFS Subcommittee.

Follow NWCG on Twitter  and Facebook