Just when you thought the left coast couldn’t get any loopier, along comes a story like this one.
You might think the weird part of this story would be that a 30-year-old former forestry student was arrested for starting a forest fire responsible for burning down 41 Californian homes.
But that’s not the weird part.
You might think that the fact she was a yoga instructor and a ‘shaman’ would be the weird part. That’s getting a little closer, but we’re still not quite there yet.
The weird part is the role bear pee played in these homes burning down. Yes, you read that correctly.
Alexandra Souverneva, of Palo Alto, was charged Friday with felony arson to wildland with an enhancement because of a declared state of emergency in California, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said. The 8,500 acre blaze the 30 year-old is accused of starting has wrecked 41 homes, and 90 other structures.
Souverneva pleaded not guilty but could face up to nine years in state prison if convicted. She is also suspected of starting additional fires in Shasta County and throughout the state, Bridgett said. It wasn’t immediately known if she has an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
During questioning by investigators, Souverneva, who previously worked as a scientist, but whose most recent job was as an SAT tutor, claimed that she had been thirsty whilst out hiking and found a puddle in a dry creek bed which contained bear urine.
She then claims she attempted to filter the water using a tea bag but when that failed tried to start a fire to boil the water. Souverneva said that it was too wet to start a fire so she drank the water and continued walking.
The Fawn Fire has charred more than 13 square miles of heavy timber in the latest destructive blaze to send Californians fleeing this year. As of Monday morning, the fire was 45 per cent contained. CAL FIRE reported on Sunday night that three firefighters were injured while battling the inferno. —DailyMail
She tried to ‘filter’ it with a tea bag.
Then she tried to boil it.
In the end, she ended up drinking it just like that.
And now, forty-one families are homeless all because — as the prosecution alleges — she wanted to drink some pee.
On Friday, she was charged Friday with felony arson to wildland with an enhancement due to the declared state of emergency California is under, said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett.
Souverneva is also being investigated for starting other fires in Shasta County and throughout the state, Bridgett said.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Souverneva was enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the environmental chemistry program at State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry. Also on her page, she lists her current occupation as “shaman.” —CBSLocal
Workers at a quarry saw her on the way to where the fire broke out. They say she ignored their warnings when she was told she wasn’t permitted to go there.
That was just a few hours before the blaze began.
At around 8pm on Wednesday, Souverneva walked out of the brush near the fire line and approached firefighters and told them she was trying to get to Canada, was dehydrated and needed medical help, Cal Fire said.
She was found to be carrying in her pockets and inside a fanny pack a cigarette lighter, CO2 cartridges, and an item ‘containing a green, leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day,’ according to the report.
Souverneva was taken out of the area for evaluation and treatment. During an interview with Cal Fire and law enforcement, officers came to believe that Souverneva, of Palo Alto, was responsible for setting the fire, officials said. –DailyMail
The folks over at Gizmodo might want to retool their description of this incident being proof of a climate crisis.
At first glance, the image of the billows of smoke above looks like something out of an apocalyptic horror movie. Nonetheless, if there’s anything the climate crisis has taught us over the past few months, it’s that fire and smoke are unfortunately part of the new normal for now. So no, the image above isn’t a movie still: It’s real scene from the new Fawn fire. — Gizmodo
It makes you wonder how many other times these clowns have been wrong.