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Utah wildfire ignited by man who tried to burn spider with lighter

“Why he was trying to do that – I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense to us,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon

August 3, 2022 8:55am

Updated: August 3, 2022 1:07pm

A large wildfire in Utah was allegedly started by a man who tried to burn a spider with a lighter but ended up igniting a bushfire instead, officials said.

The fire department responded to a call at about 4:45 p.m. When they arrived at the scene, they saw a vehicle and a man walking with his dog on an access road high up on the mountain, reported USA Today.

The man, Cory Martin, 26, from Draper, Utah, told police that he had spotted a spider and confessed to having started the spider when he tried to light it on fire. He didn’t explain why he tried to burn the eight-legged creature.

“Why he was trying to do that – I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense to us,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff's spokesperson, told USA TODAY. “But that’s what he told us, and we’ve got no reason to believe he’s making that up.” 

The fire grew quickly and burned 60 acres of a mountainside on Monday in Springville Utah, about 50 miles from Salt Lake City.

Around 100 firefighters from five different departments arrived at the scene to try to quell the rapid-moving flames and prevent them from reaching homes at the bottom of the hill.

At around 9:00 p.m. fire crews began to pull out due to lightning strikes nearby. Fortunately, heavy rain fell in the area that night and put out the fire by morning.

Police found a jar of marijuana among his belongings. However, Cannon said Cory did not appear to be high.

Martin was arrested on charges of reckless burning and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, Cannon said. He is being helped on a $2,000 bail.