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 — 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 pm, 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.
🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️”He was also found to be in possession of drugs and paraphernalia, so he will be booked for those charges as well.”
Um, don’t do drugs kids (and don’t start spiders on fire during a drought). https://t.co/dD4ekBQ1LA
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) August 2, 2022
The fire quickly grew to 40 fires in size Monday evening; it had burned about 60 acres of US 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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