Fawn Fire burns 100 structures near Shasta Lake in California

A 30-year-old woman has been arrested for starting the blaze

9:18 a.m. PDT September 26, 2021

Fawn Fire map, 9:43 p.m. PDT Sept. 25, 2021
Fawn Fire map. The red line was the perimeter at 9:43 p.m. PDT Sept. 25, 2021. The black line was the perimeter about 24 hours earlier. The darker red areas indicate intense heat when the fire was mapped.

The Fawn Fire north of Redding, California grew by about 1,000 acres Saturday to bring the size up to 8,537 acres Saturday night. All of the growth was on the north side where it reached the shore of Shasta Lake west of Ski Island, and on the northeast side near Bear Mountain Lookout Road and west of Silverthorn Road.

For the second time it spotted across the lake onto an island, which is 500 to 1,000 feet away from the mainland. However with the lake as low as it is, that distance may be much shorter, or non-existent.

Below is a zoomed-in archived satellite photo overlaid with areas of intense heat in red.

North edge of the Fawn Fire, mapped
North edge of the Fawn Fire, mapped at 9:43 p.m. PDT Sept. 26, 2021

Fire officials report that 131 structures have been officially documented as destroyed, with 44 of them being residences. CAL FIRE Damage Inspection Teams are still assessing the affected areas.

Starting late Monday morning, there is a chance for rain through mid afternoon Tuesday. Unfortunately, this will only produce 0.1 inch over the fire area, but the increased moisture should moderate fire behavior.

Fawn Fire Sept. 26, 2021
Looking toward the Fawn Fire from the Highland Trail camera pointing northwest at 9:08 a.m. Sept. 26, 2021. AlertWildfire.

Resources assigned to the fire include 12 helicopters, 201 engines, 46 dozers, 30 water tenders and 49 hand crews for a total of 1,886 personnel.

9:25 a.m. PDT September 25, 2021

Fawn Fire map 921 p.m. PDT Sept. 24, 2021
Fawn Fire map 9:21 p.m. PDT Sept. 24, 2021. The dark red areas had intense heat when the fire was mapped Friday night.

The Fawn Fire has burned approximately 25 residences and 75 other structures just north of Redding, California according to fire authorities. When it started Wednesday afternoon it grew very rapidly but slowed after reaching the north-facing slopes above the shore of Shasta Lake. Friday night it was mapped at 7,544 acres and was active on the west side near Radcliff Road and on the northeast side west of Juniper Drive and Bear Mountain Lookout Road.

Saturday morning live cameras showed very dense smoke in the area which would prevent aircraft from assisting firefighters on the ground.

A map showing the evacuations that are in effect is available at the Redding website.

Friday night the fire was four miles north of Highway 299 and was east of Interstate 5 and a large powerline right-of-way east of the Interstate. It was north of Bear Mountain Road.

Alexandra Souverneva
Alexandra Souverneva. Photo by Roseburg Police Dept..

Fire investigators arrested 30-year old Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto, California for starting the fire. She was booked into the Shasta County Jail charged with arson and a special allegation for starting a fire during a state of emergency.

KRCR reported that Souverneva was seen in the general area where the fire started earlier in the day. When questioned by investigators while the fire was burning she was carrying a lighter and said she was hiking because she was trying to get to Canada.

From KRCR:

[Souverneva] said she was thirsty and had found a puddle in a dry creek bed but that it contained bear urine. She said she tried to filter the water using a tea bag but that didn’t work so she tried to start a fire to boil the water. She said it was too wet to start a fire so she drank the water and continued walking uphill.

Souverneva is suspected of starting another fire in the nearby city of Shasta Lake on September 21.

On September 12, 2021 Souverneva was arrested in Oregon, for Criminal Trespass, 2nd Degree according to the Douglas County Sheriff. She was released the following day.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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