In international reforestation company has said it is “devastated” after one of its contractors accidentally caused a massive fire in Spain, where dozens of calamitous wildfires have raged this week.
Land Life, a Netherlands-based company with offices in Spain and the US, said the fire broke out on Monday at one of its reforestation projects in Ateca in the north-eastern region of Aragón.
The company said the blaze, estimated to have damaged 14,000 hectares (34,600 acres) of land, was caused after a spark escaped from an excavator used by one of its contractors to prepare the soil for tree planting in the winter.
The fire, which was finally brought under control late on Thursday, led to the evacuation of 1,700 people from the surrounding area. The company said it had alerted the emergency services as soon as the blaze started, and “profoundly regretted” the damage and inconvenience caused.
“We are devastated by the latest estimate that the damage will be around 14,000 hectares,” Land Life said.
“We sympathise deeply with the feelings of the local community who had to be evacuated from their homes and see their landscape severely damaged.”