This is the story of man’s struggle against a natural disaster – Coal Mine Fires.
Jharia Coal Mines in India is a rich depository of high-value coking coal, important for the steel industry. For more than a century now this coal has been exploited, but still, almost 75% of the reserves remain. Due to the high value of the trade, people have thronged to the locality, making it a densely populated region.
Coal is a highly combustible material, which catches fire easily, as soon as it comes in contact with air. If the air finds passage, this unseen fire spreads underground, and finally impacts the topsoil and all life living above it. Not only the valuable resources and human infrastructure gets lost, entire townships subside and agricultural lands become wastelands. The impact on the environment is severe.
Fighting Coal Mine Fires is teamwork more than anything else. People from different streams of science collaborate to tackle a particular fire, and it may take decades of time and effort to handle particular raging fires. This is the story of one such ongoing effort at JCM – to prevent the fire from reaching human establishments – transport networks, industries, villages, and even entire townships.
The story is about saving Jharia from the “Ring of Fire” surrounding it.
A team of three fire fighters from the local Mining Company – a remote sensing expert, an arsonist and a geo-physicist - carries the main story forward. They form a survey team that links together the fire fighting efforts happening in different coalmines in the region – with the express purpose of saving the Jharia Town.
All the signs of danger are prominent. For them, it is a race against time, where the time limit is not known. They can’t predict when the fire may reach Jharia. The technology is yet not so advanced that it could tell for certain that Jharia has so much of time left. But they, and the entire population of Jharia know that the fire is approaching. And that the fight has to go on.
They focus on the “Ring of Fire” from all sides and study it with all available resources. They oversee the fire fighting operations and determine strategy and critical parameters to fight particular fires. They study the subsidence pattern and the fire movement patterns of these fires approaching Jharia. They gather inspirations from achievements and review past mistakes. And they look out for more advanced technology from the international community to use them in Jharia.
Coal Mine Fires are an international problem, but the intensity is severe in Asian nations like India & China. For this team of three it is not only about saving Jharia, but also saving the entire world from the Coal Mine Fires. If left alone, these fires could impact the environment severely, which would affect the entire world.
The film ends with a larger think again…
The only way to keep these fires from killing you is to kill them.
There is no other option…
Runtime:52 minutes 58 seconds