A Green River man was arrested last week on suspicion of arson, after the signal fire he allegedly lit grew out of control and destroyed 30 to 40 acres of old-growth cottonwood trees on private property in the Hastings Road area.

Weston Vetere, 25, was arrested and booked into the Grand County Jail on Monday, April 13, following a report of a fire near mile marker 7 on Hastings Road, which is located north of Interstate 70 on the Grand County side of the Green River.

One firefighter sustained burns when he stepped into a burned-out stump hole on the property; the man was transported to Moab Regional Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal said Vetere allegedly told authorities that he lit the signal fire after his vehicle became stuck when he attempted to turn around on a hillside near Swasey Beach.

Crews from the Green River Fire Department, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency dispatcher’s report of the blaze.

By the time they got the fire under control, it had burned through 30 to 40 acres of old-growth cottonwoods, as well as other brush and trees in the area. A fence on private property was also destroyed, according to Neal.

Several structures were threatened, but they were not damaged.

Fire crews remained on the scene and continued their suppression efforts and fire-monitoring activities until the blaze was fully controlled.

Man allegedly lit signal fire after his car became stuck