SHASTA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- There is a new delay in the case of a Palo Alto woman accused of starting the devastating Fawn Fire in Shasta County last September.
According to reports, a judge on Tuesday declared 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva mentally unfit for trial. He also put her case on an indefinite hold until she can be evaluated for possible placement in a mental hospital.
She appeared in court Tuesday morning and remains in custody at the Shasta County Jail.
Souverneva pleaded not guilty to felony arson in late September. Before the fire started near Redding in September, a quarry worker spotted Souverneva nearby.
Authorities later arrested her after finding a lighter and carbon dioxide cartridges in her fanny pack.
According to court documents, Souverneva was attempting to boil water that had bear urine in it so she could drink it when she allegedly set off the destructive blaze.
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.
Souverneva got stuck in brush and called the fire department, the complaint read. She was evaluated for dehydration and then questioned by Cal Fire authorities when she allegedly told them she tried to light a fire. Souverneva was taken into custody.
She was found with with CO2 cartridges, a cigarette lighter and a "white item containing a green leafy substance," the complaint read.
Flames burned for more than a week, charring over 8,500 acres and destroying 185 structures. Three people were injured in the wildfire.
for more features.