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Park Fire
Fire crews from across North County work to put a brush fire along Park Drive last month in Carlsbad. Photo by Joe Orellana
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Homeless woman pleads not guilty to arson in series of Carlsbad fires

CARLSBAD — A homeless woman pleaded not guilty today to seven felony arson counts for allegedly lighting a series of fires in Carlsbad last month, one of which sparked a three-acre blaze that threatened homes and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate.

Dawn Ann Crawford, 49, is accused of setting several fires along Park Drive on Jan. 20 amid gusty Santa Ana conditions.

Deputy District Attorney Matt Hardy said Crawford “walked down the street and lit a number of fires.”

One of the blazes became called the Park Fire, near the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Referring to the Park Fire, the prosecutor said “one grew out of control,” leading to 500 homes being evacuated.

The blaze, which was contained within a few hours, damaged some decks outside homes but caused no injuries or serious structural damage, city officials reported.

Crawford was arrested two days later in San Marcos, according to the Carlsbad Police Department.

Carlsbad police said investigators found evidence tying Crawford to the fires, but did not specify what type of evidence was discovered.

She is being held without bail and her next court date is a Feb. 24 readiness conference.

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