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Updated MFIRE Software for Modeling Fire & Contaminant Spread

September 21, 2020
NIOSH Update:

Press Contact: Nura Sadeghpour,, 202.245.0673


Three people seated in front of a table and a large screen displaying the MFIRE simulation.

Mining engineers now have a fully updated software program – MFIRE – to model fire and contaminant spread in their underground mines. By offering a more accessible program to simulate fires underground, researchers at the Pittsburgh Mining Research Division (PMRD) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have given mining engineers a valuable tool to conduct fire emergency planning, as well as test if ventilation controls can contain a fire.

Using the MFIRE computer modeling program, users can perform normal ventilation network planning as well as dynamic underground mine fire and contaminant spread simulation. The program is used for mine fire emergency training and planning as well as fire risk assessment.

Originally released in 1977 as a DOS-based program by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the software has been completely rewritten in the C++ operating language and packaged into a dynamic link library—meaning it contains code and data that can be used by other programs, making it easy for all mining engineers to adopt.

Using MFIRE, engineers can understand where in a mine that smoke and toxic gases could spread, whether designated mine escapeways could be compromised by smoke and toxic gases from the fire, and what ventilation control methods could be used to reduce the fire damage in the event of a mine fire.

To access the simulation portion of the software, users can construct the ventilation network (layout of the airways), then enter ventilation parameters (such as resistances, fan curves, and elevations), and thermal properties for heat transfer. The user can then specify any size of fire at any location of the mine to simulate spread and contamination.

You can download MFIRE from the NIOSH Mining website. More information can also be found about the NIOSH Mining Program.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH, visit