An international reforestation company said it was “destroyed” after one of its contractors accidentally caused a massive fire in SpainDozens of catastrophic wildfires have broken out this week.
Land Life, a company based in the Netherlands with offices in Spain and the United States, said the fire broke out on Monday at a reforestation project in Attica in the northeastern region of Aragon.
The company said the fire, which is estimated to have destroyed 14,000 hectares (34,600 acres) of land, was caused by a spark that escaped from an excavator used by a contractor to prepare the soil for planting trees in the winter.
The fire, which was finally brought under control late Thursday, has forced the evacuation of 1,700 people from the surrounding area. The company said it notified emergency services as soon as the fire broke out, and “deeply regrets” the damage and inconvenience it caused.
“We were shocked by the latest estimate that the damage would be around 14,000 hectares,” Land Life said.
“We deeply sympathize with the feelings of the local community who had to evacuate their homes and see their landscapes badly damaged.”
Land Life said it offered its help to the authorities and launched an investigation into what happened.
“We will continue to pursue whatever we can do in this case,” she added.
“We want to ensure that the contractor, who is a local company with extensive experience in the area, has the appropriate authorization issued by the local and regional authorities.”
According to Spanish media, Land Life was accused of causing another fire in the area last month that burned 20 hectares of land.
“It is not right that they continue to operate when this has already happened once,” said the mayor of Pubierca, one of the evacuated villages, He told The Herald of Aragon.
Land Life says it is committed to helping restore degraded lands around the world. According to its website: “Land Life was founded on the shared belief that a business approach and technology can drive innovation to restore nature in our lives.”
Two people have died in the wildfires that have raged in many parts of Spain, while thousands have been evacuated.
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