All evacuations lifted as containment hits 75% – CBS San Francisco


REDDING (AP) – Officials fighting the fawn fire in Northern California overturned all evacuation orders after crews made great strides in containing a wildfire that was started by a woman last week and dozens of homes near the Shasta Lake, the authorities said on Wednesday.

The fire was 75% contained after 185 homes and other buildings were destroyed in an unincorporated area north of the city of Redding, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

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Alexandra Souverneva, 30, is being held in Shasta County Jail after being charged with arson in Wildland, with a top-up on California’s declared state of emergency, prosecutors said.

In a bizarre twist of events, loading documents state that the Palo Alto woman accidentally lit the fire while trying to boil water from a puddle to drink.

Souverneva had migrated to Canada on September 22nd and was seen in the Mountain Gate community in Northern California, according to a story written by a Cal Fire officer. The quarry workers told her she couldn’t be on the property but kept walking.

Fawn Fire Arson Suspect Alexandra Souverneva posting photo (Shasta County Sheriff’s Office)

Then she got thirsty and found a puddle of water in a dry creek bed, but the water allegedly contained bear urine, so she tried filtering the water with a tea bag, the officer said.

“She said that didn’t work, so she tried making a fire to bring the water to a boil. She said it was too wet to light the fire. She said she drank the water anyway and then continued uphill from the stream bed, “was the complaint.

Souverneva pleaded not guilty.

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The Fawn Fire charred more than 34 square kilometers of heavy wood.

It’s the latest destructive fire to send Californians on the run this year. To date, in 2021, fires have burned more than 7,964 square kilometers and destroyed more than 3,000 homes, commercial properties and other buildings.

These fires include two large forest fires that burn for more than two weeks in the heart of giant sequoia land on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. More than 1,700 firefighters fought against the KNP complex fires, which covered 196 square kilometers by Wednesday. The Tulare County fire was only 11% contained.

Half of the land burned that year – 1,505 square miles (3,898 square kilometers) – was burned by the Dixie Fire in five counties in the northern Sierra and southern Cascades regions. It is the second largest fire in California on record, and has destroyed more than 1,300 homes, businesses, and other buildings. It was 94% in on Wednesday.

Pacific Gas & Electric has admitted that its equipment may have played a role in starting the July 13 fire. Firefighters expect the fire to be completely contained by October 30th.

A historic drought in the American West linked to climate change makes fighting forest fires difficult. Millions of trees have been killed in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the west much warmer and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and make forest fires more frequent and destructive.

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© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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