Woman accused of starting Northern California fire said she was boiling bear urine to drink, court documents say


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A woman accused of starting the Fawn Fire in Northern California was trying to boil drinking water, according to a criminal complaint from the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.

Alexandra Souverneva, 30, was arraigned in court Friday where she pleaded not guilty to a felony arson charge. Documents reveal when a Cal Fire official stopped Souverneva, he requested she be evaluated for possible dehydration. When asked to empty her pockets, Cal Fire found she was carrying a lighter, the document says, and she admitted to smoking earlier that day.

She told the Cal Fire official she was on a hike to Canada and had stopped to boil water she believed contained bear urine.

“She said the water contained bear urine and tried to filter the water with a tea bag. She said that didn’t work so she attempted to make a fire to boil the water. She stated it was too wet for the fire to start,” according to the court document.

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She drank the water anyway and continued walking uphill, according to the court document.

During her court appearance on Friday, an attorney made statements about Souverneva’s actions being related to a mental health crisis “or something to do with drug abuse,” according to reports in the Redding Record Searchlight.

Souverneva is being held on a $150,000 bail and her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 5.

According to Souverneva‘s LinkedIn page, she described herself as a “shaman,” and was previously a yoga instructor and divemaster.

The Fawn Fire, which began Sept. 22, has burned 8,577 acres and is 65% contained, according to Cal Fire. A total of 185 structures have been destroyed, and 66 structures have been damaged.


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