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Update: Fawn Fire Near Redding Grows To 7,500 Acres Overnight; Firefighters Look To Cooler Weather

REDDING (CBS SF) – The Fawn Fire burning north of Redding grew to more than 7,500 acres overnight, as firefighters look to cooler weather in the coming days to help in their efforts, officials said Saturday morning.

Cal Fire announced in its Saturday update the fire burning near Shasta Lake has burned 7,544 acres since it started Wednesday afternoon. Containment remained at 10%.

As firefighters continue to employ a "full suppression strategy" in battling the flames, officials said weather conditions are expected to improve in the coming days. Winds in the area continue to diminish as high pressure settles over the weekend. On Saturday, winds will be south to southwest, with gusts up to 15 mph.

Rain is possible late Monday into the afternoon hours on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Air Quality Advisory Extended Through Monday Due To Wildfire Smoke

More than 9,000 structures remain threatened. Officials said they have identified about 100 structures that have been damaged or destroyed with an informal "windshield survey." Damage inspection teams are expected to arrive on the scene Saturday to begin a detailed assessment.

No injuries have been reported.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Cal Fire revised evacuation orders and warnings, lifting them in some areas.

The following evacuation orders have been downgraded to evacuation warnings.

  • All roads north of Old Oregon Trail at Akrich north to Pine Grove & east of Interstate 5.
  • Tierra Oaks and the surrounding area.

The evacuation warnings in the following areas have been lifted. Residents in these areas are being allowed to return home:

  • All roads on the west side of Interstate 5, west to the railroad tracks and on the north side of Shasta Dam Boulevard north to Old Oregon trail.
  • All roads west of I-5 to Ashby between Pine Grove and Shasta Dam.
  • All roads west of I-5 to the railroad tracks, south of Bass Dr to Old Oregon Trail.
  • All areas north of Highway 299, East of I-5, to Old Oregon Trail, to Pine Grove Avenue.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for the following areas:

  • All of Holiday Road south of Old Oregon Trail.
  • All roads east of Dry Creek along Elk Trail east, north to Shasta Lake, and back down Dry Creek.
  • All roads off Old Oregon Trail in both directions between Bear Mountain north to Interstate 5.
  • All roads off Bear Mountain in both directions between Dry Creek and Old Oregon Trail.
  • All roads east of I-5, north of Old Oregon Trail all the way north to Shasta Lake.

An evacuation center has been set up at the First Church of the Nazarene in Redding, located at 2225 Bechelli Lane.

More than 1,600 firefighters are on the scene. Multiple crews from the Bay Area have headed north to provide mutual aid, including firefighters from San Jose, Alameda County and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the Shasta County District Attorney's office has filed charges against the woman believed to be responsible for the fire. Prosecutors said 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto was spotted near where the fire started.

"Alexandra Souverneva was reported in the area by several civilians that she was acting strangely and was in the area of the origin where the fire began," District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said at a news conference on Friday. "After the fire started, she was contacted by Cal Fire coming out of the brush, where the fire had started, with an operable lighter in her pocket."

Fawn Fire arson suspect
Fawn Fire arson suspect Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto (Shasta County Sheriff's Office)

Souverneva has been charged with felony arson and committing an arson during a state of emergency. If convicted, she faces up to nine years in prison on the charges.

Prosecutors said additional charges are likely pending the outcome of the fire. Souverneva is also suspected in other fires in Shasta County and in other areas of California.

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