- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2022

A Utah man is accused of starting a wildfire after trying to burn a spider with his lighter.

Cory Allan Martin, 26, was arrested Monday and charged with reckless burning. He told officers he spotted the spider while hiking near Springville, south of Salt Lake City, according to a probable cause statement.

The area where the blaze started is experiencing extremely dry conditions which caused the fire to spread quickly across 60 acres, though officials say no houses were damaged.

Individuals charged with fire-related crimes can be forced to pay for any damages the fire might have caused.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said that while no evidence suggests that Mr. Martin intentionally started the fire, he called the suspect’s actions reckless.

“What led him to stop and notice a spider and decide to try to burn it, we don’t know. There may not be a why. He might not even know why,” Sgt. Cannon said.

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Mr. Martin was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, though officers said he did not appear to be under the influence at the time.

He is being held in Utah County Jail with bail set at $2,000.

• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at vcockayne@washingtontimes.com.

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