Man 'caused wildfire by burning spider'

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A Utah man has been arrested on accusations he started a wildfire while trying to burn a spider with his lighter.

Cory Allan Martin, 26, told deputies that he saw the spider Monday while he was in a hiking area in the foothills south of Salt Lake City near the city of Springville, a police statement shows.

He acknowledged starting the fire but didn't explain why he was trying to burn the spider.

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

There was no evidence to suggest he intentionally started the blaze, Cannon said, 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."

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 $US2000 ($A2900) bail. It was unknown if he had a lawyer.

The wildfire quickly spread up the mountain and had burned more than 24 hectares as of Tuesday, according to fire officials. No homes had been damaged.

© AP 2022