Thu, 21 Oct 2021

LOS ANGELES, California: California authorities said a 30-year-old Palo Alto woman, Alexandra Souverneva, has been arrested on suspicion of starting a Northern California wildfire that destroyed homes and initiated evacuation orders in a rural community.

In a statement, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said local quarry workers reported seeing a woman acting suspiciously and trespassing in the area of Shasta County where the Fawn Fire began.

The department added that Souverneva came out of the forest near the edge of the fire and approached firefighters, saying she was dehydrated and needed medical assistance.

Cal Fire and law enforcement officers eventually concluded, after interviews, that Souverneva was responsible for starting the fire. She was then arrested and held in Shasta County Jail.

Officials have confirmed that 25 structures were destroyed in the Mountain Gate area north of the city of Redding, but they did not say how many were houses. People living in neighboring areas were told to prepare to evacuate.

The fire, which was just 5 percent contained, affected an area of more than 8.5-square miles.

Cal Fire said that over 9,000 firefighters are still assigned to ten major active wildfires.

This year, California wildfires have destroyed more than 3,200 homes, commercial properties and other structures, covering an area of 3,671-square miles, including two in the state's giant sequoia country in the Sierra Nevada.

The un-contained KNP Complex began as two fires ignited by lighting on 9th September, but later combined into one, destroying an area more than 56-square miles and forcing Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks to close.

Meanwhile, some 77-square miles of the Tule River Indian Reservation and Sequoia National Forest, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument, were affected by the Windy Fire, which was only 6 percent contained.

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