Arrest made
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a man they say started a fire near Mavericks Beach on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Nils Kenaston

San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested John Ivazes, a 58-year-old Moss Beach resident, on Tuesday, accusing him of intentionally starting a grass fire at the end of Maverick’s Beach access trail.

According to a Sheriff's Office press release issued Thursday morning, multiple agencies responded to the two-acre fire on the hillside. Ivazes was found lying on the ground near the fire scene and was booked into Maguire Correctional Facility on Tuesday.

The release says that multiple witnesses saw Ivazes creating a peace sign out of grass on the hillside before setting it aflame.

It’s not the first time this has happened at Pillar Point Harbor. In 2013, someone set fire to stacked pampas grass on the same hillside, but was never caught. Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Rosemerry Blankswade said she’s not yet able to confirm any connection between the two incidents.

County Harbor District General Manager Jim Pruett said his office responded quickly to the scene alongside CalFire, County Parks and the Sheriff’s Office to put out the fire within an hour.

Pruett said that on Wednesday, Harbor District staff went out to the area to clear more of the brush to reduce any further fire risk, but said it will regrow over time. The Harbor District owns and manages the hillside, near the early stages of a project to repair the West Trail.

Pruett said this incident further underscores the importance of repairing the trail — which is currently too narrow for large fire trucks.

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