On September 22, 2021 a 30 year old Palo-Alto woman who calls herself a “shaman” was “hiking to Canada” when she apparently got incredibly thirsty. This may or may not have happened after smoking a “leafy green substance”. She happened upon a puddle of water she was worried to be “contaminated” with bear urine and attempted to boil it. When she failed at that, she drank the water anyhow. Meanwhile, her attempts at boiling may not have been fruitful with the questionable liquid, it sadly did not fail to ignite a fire.
Trapped herself, Alexandra Souverneva called fire authorities to report the blaze as well as to get help escaping the inferno that began to rapidly spread. Two days later thousands of acres had already burned, eight thousand people and counting were evacuated from their homes with well over thirty thousand people affected by the Redding California fire.
According to the New York Post “Alexandra Souverneva, 30, faces up to nine years in prison for allegedly sparking the Fawn Fire, which has destroyed 41 homes and 90 smaller structures and is threatening 2,340 others, officials have said. She has pleaded not guilty.”
After being rescued, according the reports that were handed in at the time, Souverneva was told to empty the contents of her fanny pack and to show them what was in her pockets. She pulled out CO2 cartridges, a lighter and some of that “green, leafy substance” mentioned earlier. It was confirmed by California Fire officer, Matt Alexander that she’d been smoking it that very same day.
An attorney confirmed that Souverneva was also being investigated for potentially causing other fires in California over the past few months, possibly the entire summer. The officer mentioned above had this to say, ““It is my experience that arsonists … will light multiple fires in a short timeframe.”
However, it is known that Souverneva was in Oregon during at least a few days of the beginning of September…
This is Alexandra Souverneva — 30-years-old.. She was arrested yesterday for starting the #FawnFire, per officials.
— Dylan Taylor Brown (@dylantbrown) September 24, 2021
It is believed by Souverneva’s attorney that the self-proclaimed shaman and “doctoral student at SUNY’s New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry” is having a mental breakdown or that she may be having a bad reaction to drugs.
Souverneva was arrested and held at Shasta County jail. Her bond, according to the Daily Beast which was originally set at $100,000 was increased by $50,000 when she pled “not-guilty” to starting or causing the fire in Redding. It was once again stated that Souverneva was suspected to have sparked other fires in the state by Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett.
The number of evacuated in Shasta and Tulare counties, increase again. A total of 8,062 persons are evacuated. Don´t wait, evacuate. @ShastaSheriff @ElDoradoSheriff @TulareSheriff @SiskiyouSheriff @TrinityCoSOCA pic.twitter.com/bydPf2YNJ6
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) September 24, 2021
#FawnFire view from Highland Community Park in Redding
📸 Jerry Hamblen pic.twitter.com/WyaGZiaSwk
— Michael Barthel (@RealMiBaWi) September 24, 2021
Local newspaper, Redding, reported at 7:15 AM on September 28, 2021 that the FawnFire is only 65% contained. While the fire did not grow much more than approximately 18 acres since last Sunday, the blaze remains at 8,577 acres burned since it started in the evening of September 22nd. The same paper reports that while containment lines have been built by Cal Fire around the entirety of the blaze, there is another concern that could hurt their efforts to remain in control.
“The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday due to gusty northeast winds.”