A hellish lava field is a “tragedy waiting to happen” as the security team moves in


Coal safety chiefs have dispatched teams to Ayrshire to deal with a burning field.

The field in Patna, East Ayrshire, has been burning for “three years” with the ground smoldering due to the intense heat.

Last week, concerned father Tam Paton, who is staying in the village, feared the field which has a lava-like substance running under it was “a serious risk to life”.

Tam, 30, took ayrshire live to the site that is only 10 minutes from Patna’s main shops and is about the size of a football field.

Watching smoke billow out from gaps in the ground, Tam said, “There’s no chance this area is safe enough.

The field is constantly burning
The field is constantly burning

“Anyone could step on the wrong ground and be lost.

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“It’s not just that, this area is very popular with dog walkers. What would happen if his dog got off the leash and went into the hole? There would be no chance of saving him.

Ayrshire Live showed the danger zone in the Patna countryside
Ayrshire Live showed the danger zone in the Patna countryside

“It also has an adverse effect on wildlife, there are a lot of rabbits here; one wrong move and they could be killed.

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“My biggest concern is obviously for my young children. Since this is Patna, they are always on their bikes and quads in the fields.

“A lot of young people like to go there and maybe have a little party in the woods.

The Coal Authority is reviewing the site
The Coal Authority is reviewing the site

“What if they ran into that after a few drinks? It’s not worth thinking about, it’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

“The worrying thing is that it’s attracting a lot of attention, people are traveling from outside Ayrshire to walk their dogs, then they find out about this and word spreads.”

The fires keep burning underground
The fires keep burning underground

Coal security chiefs confirmed they were alerted to the burning coal seam in Patna in 2019 and tried to fence off the danger zone.

The Coal Authority has dispatched a regional team to tackle the problem.

But the security fencing has been called inadequate by Tam, who says more needs to be done to segregate the area.

East Ayrshire Council said last week that those fences had been removed by “unknown parties”.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is also working in the area with the Coal Authority.

Mick Owens, head of public safety and sinking at the Coal Authority, said: “We first became aware of a burning coal seam in this area in 2019 when we put measures in place to keep people safe and regularly monitor the site.

“As this site remains privately owned, we are working closely with partners at East Ayrshire Council and Forestry and Land Scotland to ensure the situation continues to be managed properly.

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“We have deployed members of our regional team to the site to ensure the fence is secure and members of the public remain safe.

“As part of our work to keep people safe and provide peace of mind, coal mine hazards can be reported 24/7 on 0800 288 4242.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “SFRS is aware of this issue and is working with the Coal Authority to address local concerns.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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