Alexandra Souverneva, who is suspected of starting the highly destructive Fawn Fire in Shasta County last week, was trying to boil bear urine so she could drink it. The 30-year-old Palo Alto resident's bear-urine-boiling fire is what allegedly ignited the blaze that scorched more than 7,000 acres and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.
From CBS San Francisco:
Souverneva had been hiking to Canada on September 22 and was seen in the Mountain Gate community in Northern California, according to a narrative written by a Cal Fire officer. She was told she couldn't be on the property by quarry employees, but kept walking.
She then became thirsty and found a puddle of water in a dry creek bed, but the water allegedly had bear urine in it so she tried to filter the water with a tea bag, the officer said.
"She said that didn't work so she attempted to make a fire to boil the water. She stated it was too wet for the fire to start. She said she drank the water anyway and then continued walking uphill from the creek bed," the complaint read.
When police arrested Souverneva, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and former biotech employee she was found with CO2 cartridges, a cigarette lighter, and a "white item containing a green leafy substance."
She currently lists her occupation on LinkedIn as "shaman."
If convicted, she could spend 9 years in prison.