A man in Utah ignited a wildfire that burned 60 acres when he tried to kill a spider with a lighter. You read that right. Firefighters responded to the call at a trailhead near Springville, where the man admitted that he started the fire. As of today, August 2, the fire is 90 percent contained, KSL out of Salt Lake City reports.
26-year-old Cory Allan Martin was arrested for reckless burning, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance. The fire was located near the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Springville, Utah. Crews responded to the call around 5 pm on August 1. When they arrived, they found Martin with his dog, who claimed he saw a spider and tried to burn it.
“When he attempted to burn the spider, the surrounding brush ignited and the fire began spreading very rapidly,” explains the booking affidavit.
The fire spread and burned 60 acres of the Pleasant Grove Ranger District on the morning of August 2. Fire containment improved from 10 percent to 90 percent over the course of the day. Moral of the story: don’t try and burn spiders, lest you start a 60-acre wildfire.
Meanwhile, California Fire Crews Fight Largest and Most Destructive Wildfire of the Year So Far
In California, a much larger and more devastating fire rages. The McKinney fire is one of the worst wildfires this year so far, having burned over 51,000 acres of land near the Klamath National Forest. Crews are shifting to a defensive strategy, hoping to get all residents evacuated from nearby communities. The McKinney fire began on July 29, and had burned tens of thousands of acreage by July 31. Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown.
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County, which will hopefully allow firefighters from neighboring states to assist in containment. This week, though, the National Weather Service is calling for intense weather that may worsen the wildfire. Increased lightning may start other wildfires and thunderstorms could either contribute to the spread or aid in containing the blaze.
This intense drought and high heat that has ripped across the United States certainly isn’t helping. As of July 31, five states reported new wildfires: California, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently 54 active fires across the US, burning a total of 1,547,207 acres so far. 5 million acres of land have been burned in total this year, which falls behind only 2015’s wildfire season, which burned 5.6 million acres. Overall, extreme weather and climate change are definitely aiding in these overly intense wildfire seasons. Add climate change and drought to pure human ignorance, like the case above, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.