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Man arrested after allegedly starting wildfire to signal for help

(Grand County Sheriff's Office)


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MOAB — A Green River man has been arrested after Grand County sheriff's deputies say he started a wildfire as a means of calling for help.

Firefighters from Green River and the Bureau of Land Management were called on April 13 to a wildfire burning on Hastings Road near Swasey Beach, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Grand County Sheriff's Office.

The fire, which was burning on private property, had blackened about 40 acres by the time firefighters arrived, the sheriff's office said. Several structures were threatened but none were damaged, although a fence in the area was destroyed.

Deputies found a vehicle parked near the spot where the fire started. Weston Frank Vetere told investigators his vehicle had become stuck when he tried to turn around on a hillside. He said he started a fire to signal for help, according to the sheriff's statement.

Vetere, 25, was booked into the Grand County Jail for investigation of arson.

One firefighter suffered burns when he stepped into a hole created by a burned out stump, Sheriff Steven White said. The firefighter was taken to Moab Regional Hospital for treatment. White did not have an update on the injured man's condition Wednesday.

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Geoff Liesik

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