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Utah man is arrested after ‘triggering a 60-acre wildfire when he tried to burn SPIDER’

Utah man, 26, has been arrested after he ‘triggered a 60-acre wildfire when he tried to burn a SPIDER with his lighter’ in mountain hiking area

  • Cory Allan Martin, 26, told deputies he saw spider near Salt Lake City on Monday
  • He acknowledged that he had started a fire, but did not say why he was trying to burn spider
  • Officers found a pot of marijuana in his belongings, but he didn’t appear to be high, Sgt. Spencer Cannon said in a police statement:
  • There is no evidence to suggest he deliberately set the fire, Cannon said
  • Martin was arrested near where the fire started on suspicion of reckless burning

A Utah man has been arrested after allegedly starting a 60-acre wildfire when he tried to burn a spider with his lighter while hiking, officials said.

Cory Allan Martin, 26, told deputies he saw the spider Monday while in a hiking area in the foothills south of Salt Lake City near the town of Springville, according to a likely statement.

Martin “was found where the fire started and told police he tried to kill a spider with a lighter and started a fire,” the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

He acknowledged that he had started the fire, but did not explain why he was trying to burn the spider. Officers found a pot of marijuana in his belongings, but he didn’t appear to be high, said Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

A Utah man has been arrested after allegedly starting a 60-acre wildfire when he tried to burn a spider with his lighter while hiking, officials said.  The fire started Tuesday near the town of Springville, an hour south of the state capital of Salt Lake City

A Utah man has been arrested after allegedly starting a 60-acre wildfire when he tried to burn a spider with his lighter while hiking, officials said. The fire started Tuesday near the town of Springville, an hour south of the state capital of Salt Lake City

Pictured: Helicopters battle a Springville wildfire on Monday, allegedly started by a man who tried to set a spider on fire

Pictured: Helicopters battle a Springville wildfire on Monday, allegedly started by a man who tried to set a spider on fire

There’s no indication he deliberately set the fire, Cannon said, but he called it a reckless and puzzling decision.

This area and most of Utah are bone dry amid extreme drought.

The fire, which started Monday near the town of Springville, an hour south of the state capital of Salt Lake City, covered 60 acres.

“What made him stop and notice a spider and decide to burn it, we don’t know,” Cannon said. “There may be no why. He may not even know a why.’

In this case, his actions were more than ‘oops, I accidentally set a fire’, it was reckless to do what he did the way he did it. I’m not sure why he felt the need to burn the spider,” Cannon added.

Martin was arrested near where the fire started on suspicion of reckless burning – a Class A felony – and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, court documents show.

Martin, of Draper, Utah, was incarcerated in Utah County Jail on Tuesday against nearly $2,000 bail. He has since been released on bail. It was not known whether he had a lawyer.

An Erickson Aero Tanker drops fire retardant over a bushfire in Springville on Monday, Aug. 1.

An Erickson Aero Tanker drops fire retardant over a bushfire in Springville on Monday, Aug. 1.

Quinn Smith and her father, David Smith, watch a helicopter take off on Monday, August 1, 2022, as firefighters fight a wildfire in Springville

Quinn Smith and her father, David Smith, watch a helicopter take off on Monday, August 1, 2022, as firefighters fight a wildfire in Springville

“I have a pretty good idea what he was doing with that lighter,” one Facebook user responded to the sheriff’s office post — in a nod to the cannabis sheriffs, saying it was found in Martin’s possession.

“We couldn’t prove what you think,” the office wrote back.

The wildfire quickly spread up the mountain and had burned less than 1 square mile by Tuesday, according to fire officials. No houses were damaged.

Within an hour of the fire’s outbreak, air sources – including a fire fighting helicopter and an air tanker – were sent out to fight the blaze.

By 9 p.m. Tuesday, fire teams had left the site after rain had fallen in the region, and the fire was reported to be about 90 percent under control at the time.

The US state is in the throes of a severe drought — along with much of the country’s southwest — as part of a phenomenon scientists say will be exacerbated for two decades by climate change.

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