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Woman Walks Out of Brush Near Fire Line, Is Arrested

Alexandra Souverneva accused of arson in Fawn Fire, which has forced evacuations of 4K
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2021 4:04 PM CDT
Woman Allegedly Set This Fast-Growing Wildfire
Flames consume a house near Old Oregon Trail as the Fawn Fire burns about 10 miles north of Redding in Shasta County, Calif., on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

(Newser) – A fire that erupted Wednesday in California's Shasta County has quickly spread to cover 5,500 acres, forcing thousands of people out of their homes. It's also prompted an arrest. Cal Fire and Shasta County Fire said employees spotted a white woman trespassing on property accessed through two quarries in the unincorporated Mountain Gate area north of Redding before the fire was spotted "in a deep and remote canyon" within that area, per KCRA. The employees said the woman was "acting irrationally," according to the statement.

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Firefighters were battling the flames around 8pm Wednesday when a woman identified as 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto "walked out of the brush near the fire line and approached firefighters stating she was dehydrated and needed medical treatment," the statement adds. During an interview, "information was gathered leading officers to believe Souverneva is responsible for causing the fire." The agencies did not say how the blaze began, but note the Shasta County District Attorney's Office is recommending the charge of "arson to wildland."

Some 4,000 residents were evacuated Thursday as the so-called Fawn Fire spread from 1,200 acres in the morning to 5,500 acres by evening, when it was just 5% contained, per KCRA. Officials blamed high winds and said at least 25 structures were destroyed, per CBS Sacramento. Gizmodo shares scenes that look "like something out of an apocalyptic horror movie." Shasta College canceled all in-person classes for Friday as the fire neared its Redding campus, per KHSL. Some 9,000 firefighters are currently battling 10 large wildfires across the state. (Read more California wildfires stories.)

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