Land Life, a Dutch reforestation company, began a forest fire in Spain on Monday.
The fire began in Bubierca, a Zaragoza province when a Land Life contractor planting trees mistakenly let off flames that burned surrounding plant life.
“The fire started while one of our contractors was using a retro-spider excavator to prepare the soil to plant trees later this winter,” Land Life said in a statement on Thursday.
“The operators alerted the emergency services. The emergency teams are working non-stop to control the fire and have fortunately established the fire perimeter. Nonetheless, we are devastated by the latest estimate that the damage will be around 14,000 hectares,” or roughly 35,000 acres.”
“While a contractor was working on forest restoration in the area, a spark from one of the excavators started the fire,” the company wrote in an earlier press release.
Land Life is an organization that reduces emissions by planting trees to counteract the carbon emissions of polluting industries. How many acres Land Life has planted trees on is unknown. According to one blog post, however, the group intended to plant 20,000 acres between 2020 and 2021.
Although it seems unlikely that this forest fire destroyed most of Land Life’s works, it is not the only fire Land Life has sparked. It caused another blaze on June 20 that burned 20 hectares down.
“It is not good that it happens once and that they continue working,” the mayor of Bubierca told local media.
“The Government of Aragon, instead of recommending that the activity cease, should have prohibited it because there is time to repopulate these hills, where fire breaks out as soon as they throw iron on the stone.”
Authorities have ordered the evacuation of five nearby villages and a nursing facility due to the devastating fire. Approximately 2,000 people were evacuated. The Aragon’s president, Javier Lambán, called the incident “serious and concerning.”
“Even though the situation is better than the worst forecasts, we maintain all alerts active because weather changes could cause activations on different fronts, and the best is to act based on worst-case scenarios,” Lambán reportedly said.