On Friday, a 30-year-old woman from Palo Alto suspected to have started a California wildfire pleaded not guilty.
Alexandra Souverneva claimed that the Fawn Fire, which left over 40 homes and 90 other structures destroyed, broke out by accident as she was boiling bear urine to drink on Wednesday, according to a narrative submitted by Cal Fire law enforcement. The woman, who said in her LinkedIn page that she is a shaman, is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology.
Redding Record Searchlight reported that an attorney said in a court on Friday that the woman claimed to law enforcement telling of a probable mental health struggle “or something to do with drug abuse.”
With the increasing fire damages, the bail was also increased by Judge Adam Ryan from $100, 000 to $150, 000 for the arson charge on the forested area. The newspaper added that $25, 000 more was pinned for arson during the state’s present state of emergency over the threat brought about by the wildfire.
According to District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett, who appeared in a press conference Friday, the woman is alleged of igniting other fires not only in Shasta County but also throughout the state.
The Fawn Fire started last Wednesday and in less than a day, it already covered 3, 500 acres. On Thursday afternoon, with the breezy conditions, the fire exploded and placed the Mountain Gate neighborhood in danger. It grew to 8, 559 acres on Sunday evening, the Cal Fire said in its latest report, with containment of only 45 percent.
The fire was first reported at 4:45 in the afternoon in a far canyon on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.
A female trespasser was said to be spotted by quarry employees. Cal Fire said she has been “acting irrationally” before the fire broke out.
The Cal Fire narrative said that before she disappeared, the woman “discarded items along a dirt road that consisted of two small Co2 cartridges and a AA battery.”
Later, she was found walking out of the bushes close to the fire line. She headed to fire crews who were actively putting off the fire and complained that she was thirsty.
According to reports, she had a lighter, CO2 cartridges and “pink and white item containing a green leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day” with her. The Cal Fire narrative furthered that Souverneva was “attempting to get to Canada” thus, the hike, SFGATE reported.
Palo Alto High School’s newspaper said she graduated in 2009. She holds chemistry and biology degrees from the California Institute of Technology, as confirmed by the university in Pasadena.