Arson suspected in forest inferno

A transient who alerted authorities to a fire near Half Moon Bay on Tuesday was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of starting the blaze, police said.

Michael Taylor, 47, was camping in a woodland area called Spanish Town on the 12000 block of San Mateo Road just east of Half Moon Bay in unincorporated San Mateo County when he flagged down a police sergeant to report the fire around 5 p.m., Half Moon Bay police said.

A San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office deputy then arrested Taylor, who was on probation for unknown charges. Sheriff’s officers interviewed Taylor and determined he started the fire, arresting him on felony arson charges, Sheriff’s Office Lt. Marc Alcantara said.

Fire and police officials first heard about the fire from Taylor, Alcantara said.

The fire burned about 7½ acres and was under control about one hour and 40 minutes after it began, said Belmont-San Carlos fire Chief Doug Fry, who was the incident’s mutual aid coordinator. Fire crews investigated the incident Tuesday night and into Wednesday, Fry said.

No property was damaged and no one was injured in the three-alarm fire, Fry said.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

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