Cleanup crews are racing to clean 4,000 gallons of crude oil out of the Hondo River before it reaches a nearby lake.

The Hondo River lines the border between Mexico and Belize. Nearly a mile of the river turned blood red after the spill, which was caused on August 27th when thieves drilled a tap into a gasoline pipeline.

This is a photo of the river in its normal state

Workers initially contained the deadly mess, but heavy rains caused containment ponds to overflow and spread the oil again.

This is part of the river after the oil spill.

Dalos Rodriguez Vargas, the Veracruz state environmental prosecutor, said that dozens of “reptiles, birds and fish” had been killed, as well as vegetation on the river banks, which will have to be replaced.

The oil is killing plants and animals all around the river.

It’s a race against the weather, as heavy rains could wash the oil all the way to a locals’ lake, known as the Laguna Maria Lizamaba.

An oil spill last week in the northern state of Nuevo Leon that was also caused by an illegal tap may takes weeks to clean up, state-run oil company Pemex said Monday.

Cleanup crews are racing the weather to remove the oil before it rains and spreads further down the river and into a nearby lake.

Thousands of illegal pipeline taps have become an increasing environmental and safety problem in Mexico. They frequently trigger spills or explosions, making them not only deadly to animals, but to humans too.