Utah man trying to kill spider with lighter started Springville wildfire, police say

Firefighters battle a wildfire from the ground as a helicopter drops water above them in Springville on Monday. The fire started when a man tried to burn a spider with a lighter, police said.

Firefighters battle a wildfire from the ground as a helicopter drops water above them in Springville on Monday. The fire started when a man tried to burn a spider with a lighter, police said. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)


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SPRINGVILLE β€” A wildfire near Springville, which police say was started by a man who claimed he was trying to kill a spider Monday afternoon, is now 90% contained, according to firefighters.

Cory Allan Martin, 26, of Draper, was arrested Monday evening for investigation of reckless burning, as well as possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, according to Utah County Jail records.

Reports of a fire "north of town on the mountainside" came in just before 5 p.m., Springville fire officials said. Utah County sheriff's deputies also responded to a report of the fire, which was located by the Bonneville Shoreline Trail near 1400 N. Main in Springville.

When deputies arrived, firefighters at the scene said they had come across a man who said that he started the fire. The crews escorted him down the mountain to speak with authorities. The man identified himself as Martin and explained that he saw a spider on the mountain and tried to burn it with a lighter, according to a police booking affidavit.

"When he attempted to burn the spider, the surrounding brush ignited and the fire began spreading very rapidly," the affidavit states.

Martin was arrested at the scene and placed in a squad car. Deputies later found a jar of marijuana and drug paraphernalia while searching his belongings, the arrest report adds.

The fire quickly grew to 40 acres in size Monday evening; it had burned about 60 acres of U.S. Forest Service land within the Pleasant Grove Ranger District as of Tuesday morning, according to Utah Fire Info, an information center for state and federal firefighters.

Two crews, one squad and one engine, were assigned to the fire Tuesday. Firefighters said they expected "containment to drastically increase" by the end of Tuesday's shift, and it improved from 10% to 90%.

Officials asked residents to avoid the area to "help open the roads for emergency vehicles."

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is also temporarily closed between the Buckley Draw and Little Rock Creek as crews continue to fight the fire.

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Arianne Brown is a breaking news reporter for KSL.com. She also enjoys finding and sharing stories of everyday Utahns, a talent she developed over several years of freelance writing for various Utah news outlets.
Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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