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Woman arrested after Half Moon Bay arson fires

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San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman suspected of arson after a short pursuit beginning near Redwood City on Friday.

Deputies responded to a fire at 9:22 p.m. on June 26 at state Highway 1 and Seymour Street in Half Moon Bay. They found a large number of harvested hay bales on fire near a eucalyptus grove and homes, according to sheriff’s officials.

Sheriff’s officials said the fire was extinguished after about 900 hay bales were damaged, amounting to $10,800 in loss.

Officials responded to another fire in the same location at 9:51 p.m. on Tuesday and found a fire quickly spreading over hay bales, officials said. The owner of the hay told deputies that the 765 bales were valued at $9,180.

Cal Fire and sheriff’s officials determined that both fires were caused by arson, but no one was injured and no structures were damaged. Sheriff’s officials said, however, that the time of night and weather conditions for the fire proved a serious threat to public safety.

The suspect, Monica Berlin, 39, of El Granada, was arrested on Friday after a deputy noticed her vehicle traveling south on Skyline Boulevard in a gray 2004 Volvo station wagon at 6:51 p.m.

The deputy initiated a stop, but Berlin allegedly did not stop and continued driving south onto CaƱada Road and southbound Interstate Highway 280.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol pursued her vehicle into Redwood City on eastbound Woodside Road, then turned right onto southbound Alameda de las Pulgas and ended the chase when Berlin allegedly yielded to officers in the 300 block of Fletcher Drive in Atherton.

Berlin was arrested and booked into San Mateo County Jail for two counts of arson and an outstanding arrest warrant from San Francisco for separate charges.

Anyone with information about the alleged arson is asked to contact Detective Gordon Currie at (650) 363-4051 or gcurrie@smcgov.org.

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