Mine Features and Hazards

Misc Fireline Hazards
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Feb 2021


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.
  • 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.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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