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|Extensive field studies have been carried out to investigate the pillar fire problems in one coal mine in India. A Thermal IR gun and a Thermovision camera have been employed for thermal scanning to assess the state of heating in selected pillars. Special sampling set-ups have been designed to collect gas samples from the holes drilled into the selected pillars and the multigas detector is used to analyse the composition of samples in situ. In order to predict the spontaneous heating in coal pillars, different gas ratios have been calculated and it has been observed that some of the established gas ratios, viz. Graham?s ratio, Young?s ratio etc. have resulted in negative values in samples containing high amounts of methane. The modified gas ratios have been proposed which will be useful for predicting the pillar fires. These ratios may also be used for assessing the condition of fires in sealed-off areas.|