Woman accused of starting the Fawn Fire deemed fit to stand trial

REDDING, Calif. – The woman accused of starting a fire that ended up destroying over 100 structures has been deemed competent to stand trial.

CAL FIRE said on September 22, 2021, employees working at a remote rock quarry near Fawndale Road north of Mountain Gate saw a woman trespassing on the property and acting irrationally.

Later that afternoon, CAL FIRE and other agencies responded to a vegetation fire in the area the woman was seen. That fire later became the Fawn Fire, which prompted mandatory evacuation orders for residents in the area.

At about 8:00 p.m. that night, a woman walked out of the brush near the fireline and told firefighters she was dehydrated and needed medical help. She was later identified as 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto, California.

After getting Souverneva away from the flames, investigators came to believe she was responsible for starting the fire which went on to destroy 185 structures. She was subsequently arrested and booked in the Shasta County Jail for arson.

Souverneva’s mental health came into question, so prosecutors weren’t able to move forward in their case until now.

Thursday morning, Souverneva was found competent to stand trial and the criminal proceedings have resumed.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for September 14, 2022.

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