Teams check destruction from Northern California forest fire

Teams check destruction from Northern California forest fire


REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Damage assessment teams went out Saturday to determine how many buildings have burned in a forest fire that has displaced thousands of residents in Northern California.

Firefighters working in steep, drought-stricken terrain hope calmer weather over the next few days will help as they battle the Fawn Fire north of the city of Redding.

A fire update said winds were easing and temperatures were dropping, with rain expected to start Monday.

Initial assessments found that at least 100 homes and other structures had burned, officials said. But that number was likely to change as teams go street by street surveying the destruction in the Mountain Gate area.

Authorities have arrested a 30-year-old woman on suspicion of starting the blaze that erupted Wednesday and grew explosively in hot and gusty weather in the region about 200 miles (322 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

Alexandra Souverneva was charged Friday with felony arson to wildland with an enhancement because of a declared state of emergency in California, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said.

The Palo Alto woman also is being investigated to see if she's started other fires in Shasta County and throughout the state, Bridgett said. It wasn’t immediately known if she has an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The Fawn Fire has charred nearly 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) of heavy timber and was 10% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Nearly 2,000 residents were under mandatory evacuation orders and an additional 7,400 were warned to be ready to leave if necessary, the California Highway Patrol said.

It's the latest destructive blaze to send Californians fleeing this year. Fires have burned more than 3,600...

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