Law enforcement officers from Cal Fire have arrested a Palo Alto woman they believe is responsible for igniting the Fawn Fire in Shasta County that started Wednesday and had burned 5,850 acres as of Friday morning.
Firefighters from Cal Fire and Shasta County responded to reports of a vegetation fire about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, near Fawndale Road north of Mountain Gate. The blaze started in a deep, remote canyon on property accessible through the JF Shea and Mountain Gate quarries.
Earlier in the day, employees in the area reported seeing a woman trespassing on the property and "acting irrationally," according to a Cal Fire statement.
At approximately 8 p.m., while working the fire, firefighters were approached by 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva, who walked out of brush in the fire line, saying she was dehydrated and needed medical treatment.
Souverneva was transported off the fire line and treated. After being interviewed by Cal Fire investigators, she was arrested and transported to the Shasta County jail, where she was booked on suspicion of "arson to wildland," which could carry an enhancement upon conviction, due to California's current state of emergency declared over wildfire danger. She's being held on $100,000 bail, according to county custody records.
Souverneva graduated from Palo Alto High School in 2009.
The fire was 10% contained and destroyed 25 structures as of Friday morning. A Cal Fire report issued Thursday afternoon said as many as 2,000 could be in danger. More than 950 personnel are working the fire, including 11 helicopters and 17 bulldozers.