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Man arrested for allegedly sparking wildfire while trying to burn a spider

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At least two killed in California wildfire
At least two killed in California wildfire 02:32

A Utah man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire while trying to burn a spider with his lighter. 

Cory Allan Martin, 26, told deputies that he spotted the spider Monday while he was in a hiking area in the foothills south of Salt Lake City near the city of Springville, according to a probable cause statement. He acknowledged starting the fire, but didn't explain why he was trying to burn the spider.

Deputies found a jar of marijuana in his belongings, but he didn't appear to be high, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

There is no evidence to suggest he intentionally started the blaze, said Cannon, but he called it a reckless and puzzling decision. This area and most of Utah are bone dry amid extreme drought conditions.

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

The wildfire has burned at least 60 acres and was 90% contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to state fire officials. No homes have been damaged.  

Martin was arrested on suspicion of reckless burn and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, court documents show.

He was in the Utah County jail Tuesday on nearly $2,000 bail. It was unknown if he had an attorney.

There are several wildfires burning across the Western U.S. amid hot, dry conditions. The McKinney Fire in Northern California has scorched at least 55,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes since sparking July 29. At least four people have died in the blaze. 

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