The weird tale of how a snake and a hawk started a wildfire

The hawk's talons are still wrapped around the snake despite being burnt to death.
The hawk's talons are still wrapped around the snake despite being burnt to death. Photo credit: Kyra Vanisko

A hungry bird searching for food has started a massive wildfire in the United States after the prey it caught touched power lines.

Black Eagle Fire Department acting assistant chief Dave Lee said he was pretty sure two animals instigated the fire that burnt 40 acres in central Montana.

"A dead hawk was found burned and it had contacted the power lines," Lee said.

"The amazing thing is it still had a small snake gripped in its talons."

Mr Lee said it's not unusual for animals to cause fires but an instance like this was quite strange.

Firefighter Kyra Vanisko, who took a photo of the two animals burnt to a crisp under the powerlines, said "it was just awesome".

"I wasn't expecting to find a hawk with a snake in its claws still," she said.

Firefighters from the area as well as Air Force and National Guard personnel were needed to douse the fire.

The dry conditions allowed the fire to spread quickly but firefighters were able to contain it before it caused serious damage.

Newshub.