Claimed PCT Hiker Charged With Starting California’s Fawn Fire

A woman claiming to be a PCT hiker has been charged with allegedly starting California’s Fawn Fire after attempting to boil drinking water.

The criminal complaint from the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office states that Alexandra Souverneva was hiking to Canada when the fire began on September 22. As of September 28th, the fire is 50% contained, has burned more than 8,559 acres, and has destroyed 155 buildings. 

According to the report, Souverneva was hiking on private property near a quarry in the Mountain Gate Community in Northern California. She was given a warning by quarry employees about trespassing but reportedly continued hiking. She states that she soon became thirsty and stopped at a puddle of water in a dry creek bed for a drink.

However, she believed the puddle to be contaminated with bear urine, so attempted to start a fire to disinfect the water by boiling it. She claimed that the wood and leaves were too wet to ignite, so she drank the water anyway and began hiking uphill from the creek bed.

She continued hiking until she saw smoke and contacted fire department personnel.

Upon being assisted by officers who were working to extinguish the blaze, she told them she was hiking to Canada and admitted to “attempting” to start a fire to boil her water. She was carrying only a fanny pack, and upon searching her pockets and bag, law enforcement found a lighter, CO2 cartridges, and “a pink and white item containing a green leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day”. Although Souverneva claimed to be hiking to PCT to Canada, there is little evidence to support her claim.

After believing that she was responsible for the fire, police arrested Souverneva and she was taken to the Shasta County jail. Authorities did not mention any possible motives, however, she is believed to be linked to multiple other fires in other parts of the state as well.

Souverneva pleaded not guilty when she appeared in court on September 24, and her bail was increased to $150,000 after the judge took the current damages of the fire into consideration.

She faces a felony arson charge with an enhancement of committing arson during a state of emergency, plus a related misdemeanor of  “arson during a state of emergency.” Souverneva currently could face up to nine years in prison. If found guilty, additional charges are likely as final sentences are based on total fire damages and overall outcome. The next court date regarding her case is scheduled for October 5th.

Featured image via.

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Comments 46

  • Woody Woodpecker : Sep 28th

    She sounds like a looney tunes who should be locked up for a multitude of reasons.

    I love the loons who purposely start forest fires and call them in for the attention it brings. The media will scream “global warming” when in reality the cause is a mental crackpot with a Bic lighter.

    I hope they do her up real good in prison for starting all those fires and all the damages she’s caused.

    Hiking to Canada with only a fanny pack and drinking water anyway after she thought it was bear urine? Those must be some powerful drugs she was smoking.

  • Camp Mom : Sep 29th

    …and upon searching her pockets and bag, law enforcement found a lighter, CO2 cartridges, and “a pink and white item containing a green leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day.”

    They were not CO2 cartridges but propellant charges containing nitrous oxide,(laughing gas). As a camp host in a national monument in Southern Oregon where the PCT goes thru, this season, I picked up or disposed of hundreds of used cartridges thrown away in the bush, trailhead parking lots, vault toilets, campsites and or dumped around trash on the ground on public lands.
    I attended to and helped hundreds of PCT thru hikers this season with not one bad incident, (other than mudding up the floor of the showers with trail dust next to the PCT camp). So, calling her a PCT’er is not true. More like a troubling subset of what we called “wilderness ravers” that would show up in groups and flaunt campground rules and guidelines. And when asked to comply for safety reasons or common courtesy to other campers would have at least one “campsite lawyer” confronting us using contorted legalize.

    No, combining laughing gas, green leafy material and a lack of personal responsibility caused this harm to others.

  • Andrew Carter : Sep 29th

    This is the first article I’ve seen where the alleged arsonist is reported to be a PCT hiker. Other reports say the woman claimed to be hiking to Canada. There is a difference. It’s important to note that the fire this woman allegedly started is not on the PCT and the woman was not found on the PCT.

  • Cam : Sep 29th

    Colleen Goldhorn when you write a story about a loon and then attach the story to the PCT, well you are a troubled writer. The readers want facts without misdirection. Insulting PCT hikers by the THOUSANDS is not good for ones career.

    • Pcs : Sep 30th

      Mansplaining, eh?

    • Colleen Goldhorn : Sep 30th

      Hi Cam, thanks for your input here! Everything I mentioned above says that the women “claimed to be a PCT hiker”. Although I agree that whether her story is true is definitely up for debate, the fact remains that she told authorities that she was hiking the PCT to Canada according to my sources. Again, thanks for your feedback.

      • Just Bob : Sep 30th

        Thank you

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