A ‘shaman’ in California accused of igniting a wildfire claimed the blaze began by accident while she boiled bear urine to consume, according to the New York Post.
“Alexandra Souverneva, 30, faces up to nine years in prison for allegedly sparking the Fawn Fire, which has destroyed 41 homes and 90 smaller structures and is threatening 2,340 others, officials have said. She has pleaded not guilty,” the outlet stated Monday.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 27, 2021
She is now reportedly suspected of starting other fires across the state.
While the fire in Shasta County blazed on Wednesday, Souverneva claimed she had been hiking and working her way to Canada, documents reportedly said.
She informed forest authorities she was thirsty and saw a puddle of what she believed was bear urine and apparently tried to start a fire to boil the liquid, documents noted.
However, she realized it was “too wet for the fire to start,” so she drank the liquid and reportedly continued on her journey. Souverneva later became trapped in the brush during the fire and was forced to contact the fire department for help.
The article continued:
She was asked to empty her pockets and fanny pack — which had CO2 cartridges, a cigarette lighter and an item “containing a green, leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day,” according to Cal Fire officer Matt Alexander. Workers at a nearby quarry reported seeing a woman toss two small CO2 cartridges that matched the ones found in her bag on the same day the Fawn Fire ignited, Alexander said in court documents.
According to the Daily Mail, Souverneva was reportedly a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and previously worked as a Bay Area biotech employee.
She also worked as a yoga instructor and described herself as a shaman, an individual claiming to possess a direct connection with good and evil spirits, the outlet said:
She enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry but never completed her doctorate. She later worked in medicinal chemistry as a research associate at the biotech companies Gilead Sciences in Foster City and Nanosyn in Santa Clara.
Meanwhile, Alexander noted in a report “there is a high possibility she is responsible” for a blaze the previous evening also.
“It is my experience that arsonists … will light multiple fires in a short timeframe,” Alexander stated.