ZARAGOZA – The Guardia Civil has investigated five people as alleged perpetrators of the forest fire in Ateca, Zaragoza.
It is thought the fire started due to serious negligence because of their participation in carrying out reforestation work. This in turn, caused the fire that affected nine municipalities in the province of Zaragoza, burning more than 10,000 hectares of forest. Furthermore, it forced the evacuation of 1,700 residents from four localities.
Lightning speed fire
The fire spread rapidly and affected the following municipalities;
- Alhama de Aragón
- Villarroya de la Sierra
- Embid de Ariza
Also read: Wild fires in Spain
Specialists from the Zaragoza Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) began an investigation to confirm the causes and circumstances surrounding the fire. They also investigated the possible existence of people or companies involved.
Moreover, once the exact point where the fire started was located and a study of its evolution had been carried out, the police collected numerous data, evidence, and statements. Consequently, this made it possible to specify the fire had occurred when the drill of a machine hit a stone while working in the area.
As a result of the different checks carried out during the investigation, the SEPRONA specialists determined there could be serious negligence on the part of the person operating the controls of the machine and also the companies that directed and supervised the reforestation work.
In total, five people have been investigated. Subsequently, the corresponding proceedings have been instructed, and will be delivered to the Calatayud Court of Instruction and the Provincial Environmental Prosecutor’s Office.
The Guardia Civil recommends refraining from carrying out activities that may entail a risk of fire. Furthermore, serious negligence can result in a criminal offence in addition to the serious consequences that forest fires usually cause for people, property, and the environment.