Springfield, UT – A wildfire that consumed approximately 60 acres of federal land east of Springville earlier this week was allegedly sparked by a man who said he was trying to burn a spider with a lighter.
According to court documents, 26-year-old Cory Allan Martin told deputies he was hiking in the foothills east of Springville on Aug. 1 when he spotted a spider at approximately 5 p.m., NBC News reported.
“Cory stated he found a spider on the mountain and was attempting to burn the spider with a lighter,” deputies wrote in an arrest affidavit.
“When he attempted to burn the spider, the surrounding brush ignited and the fire began spreading very rapidly,” they added.
The Springville Fire began near the bottom of the mountain and quickly burned up to the top, NBC News reported.
Multiple air units and firefighters responded to douse the blaze, which consumed approximately 60 acres before it was 90 percent contained the following day.
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Martin encountered firefighters as he tried to escape the wildfire and allegedly told them what he had done, so they escorted him to where Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) deputies were located, NBC News reported.
UCSO Sergeant Spencer Cannon said investigators do not believe Martin intentionally started the blaze, according to CBS News.
“What led him to stop and notice a spider and decide to try to burn it, we don’t know,” Sgt. Cannon said. “There may not be a why. He might not even know a why.”
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Deputies said they also located a jar of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in Martin’s belongings after he was arrested, but they noted he did not appear to be impaired when they spoke with him about the fire, NBC News reported.
“There was no indication Mr. Martin was heavily under the influence of drugs,” Sgt. Cannon said. “He was quiet and not very talkative, but that is not unusual when one finds they are the focus of a criminal investigation.”
Firefighters battle a wildfire from the ground as a helicopter drops water above them in Springville on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. The fire started when a man tried to burn a spider with a lighter. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP) pic.twitter.com/jHFqxpsYIB
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Martin was arrested on suspicion of reckless burn, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia, CBS News reported.
His bail was set at $2,000.
Martin was released from jail sometime on Tuesday, according to NBC News.
The incident also garnered a comment from Utah Governor Spencer Cox on Monday.
“Um, don’t do drugs kids (and don’t start spiders on fire during a drought),” he tweeted.