A Utah man was detained this week after he started a wildfire when he tried to kill a spider using a lighter, the local sheriff's office said.

Cory Martin, 26, "was found where the fire started and told police he tried to kill a spider with a lighter and in the process started a fire," the Utah County Sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

The US state has been in the grip of a severe drought, along with much of the country's southwest, as part of a two-decade phenomenon scientists say is being exacerbated by climate change.

The fire, sparked on Tuesday near the city of Springville, an hour south of the state capital Salt Lake City, covered 60 acres and was 90% contained by yesterday, according to Utah Fire Info.

Mr Martin, 26, was booked "for reckless burning, a class A misdemeanour, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanours," the sheriff's office said, adding that he has since been bailed.

"I have a pretty good idea what he was doing with that lighter," one Facebook user commented on the sheriff's office post, in a wink to the cannabis sheriffs say was found in Martin's possession.

"We could not prove what you're thinking," the office wrote back.