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California Woman Charged With Starting Wildfire While Trying to Boil Bear Urine to Drink

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: September 28, 2021, 12:42 IST

At the time when the fire caught in Shasta County last week, Souverneva claimed that she had been hiking and trying to reach Canada. ( Credits: Shutterstock)

At the time when the fire caught in Shasta County last week, Souverneva claimed that she had been hiking and trying to reach Canada. ( Credits: Shutterstock)

30-year-old self-proclaimed shaman, Alexandra Souverneva is facing up to nine years in prison for allegedly starting the Fawn Fire, which damaged 41 homes and 90 smaller structures and is threatening 2,340 others.

Wildfires in California, United States have become quite a common site. Much of it has been blamed on the climate crisis and drier weather, but in one interesting case a woman who describes herself as a Shaman has been arrested and charged with igniting the wildfire in a California county that has thousands of homes under threat.

30-year-old self-proclaimed shaman, Alexandra Souverneva is facing up to nine years in prison for allegedly starting the Fawn Fire, which damaged 41 homes and 90 smaller structures and is threatening 2,340 others, reported the New York Post. However, Souverneva has pleaded not guilty and has a rather interesting explanation in her defence.

According to the report, at the time when the fire caught in Shasta County last week, Souverneva claimed that she had been hiking and trying to reach Canada. In her statement to forest officials, she said that as she was hiking, she felt thirsty and came across a puddle of what she believed to be bear urine. Souverneva tried to make a fire as she wished to boil the bear urine before drinking it, reported the New York Post. However, things did not go according to the plan as the fire did not start, so she drank the water that she thought was animal urine and continued on her way. Later, Souverneva got trapped in the bush amid the fire and had to call the fire department to help her. When they reached the scene, firefighters requested Souverneva to empty her pockets and fanny pack. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officer Matt Alexander said that the contents of her fanny pack included CO2 canisters, a lighter, and “a green, leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day.”

Other witnesses said in their statement that Souverneva dropped two CO2 cartridges the day the fire started. According to her LinkenIn profile, Souverneva calls herself a “shaman” and was a doctoral student at State University of New York’s New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry but did not complete her studies. Souverneva then worked in medicinal chemistry as a research associate at the biotech companies Gilead Sciences in Foster City and Nanosyn in Santa Clara. Souverneva has also worked as a yoga instructor, certified scuba dive master, piano teacher and camp counsellor; she most recently tutored Bay Area students in the sciences, reported The Mercury News.

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first published:September 28, 2021, 12:38 IST
last updated:September 28, 2021, 12:42 IST