A woman accused of starting Newhall brush fire returns to court


A woman accused of starting a brush fire in Newhall last year returned to court this week.  

Maria Herrera, 29, is accused of purposefully igniting a brush fire on Oct. 2 at around 3:30 p.m. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within seven minutes of their arrival, but not before the blaze had burned 2 acres of land near 15th Street and Railroad Avenue.  

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials confirmed the arson investigation shortly after the fire was extinguished, noting that multiple witnesses identified a woman seen leaving the scene of the blaze as a possible suspect in what’s believed to be a fire that was deliberately set. 

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.  

The defendant was charged with a felony count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent; and arson of a structure or forest.  

The D.A.’s Office added the additional allegations due to Herrera’s criminal record. Herrera was sentenced in 2014 to three years in state prison for a no-contest plea to a robbery charge from 2012. In April 2019, she pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of presenting false identification to a police officer. In March 2020, she pleaded no contest to a drug-possession charge, according to court records available online from the Los Angeles County Superior Court website. 

She is set to return to court on Sept. 17 for a prelim setting. A prelim setting is a hearing date to schedule a preliminary hearing — when the evidence is presented to the judge who decides whether the trial will move ahead.   

She is being held in lieu of $255,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility.  

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