The ‘World’s Loneliest Woman’ Rescued From Wildfire That Destroyed Her Mountain Hut

by Kati Michelle

There’s a lot to be said regarding the benefits of living remotely and completely off the grid. Life is slower and it’s also much easier to protect your peace whilst surrounded by nature. Sure, there’s the threat of hungry bears and vicious wolves. Still, these are the trade-offs.

Take it from the “World’s Loneliest Woman,” Agafya Lykova. The 77-year-old Siberian woman narrowly escaped an out-of-control wildfire that completely destroyed her remote mountain hut. This is not the first time the woman or her family has evaded death, either. She’s lived a long life with plenty of harrowing stories and she’s still here to tell those tales thanks to fast-acting volunteers nearby.

Wildfires Continue to Affect People Worldwide

United States citizens are more than familiar with wildfires by now. They’ve cost the Lake Tahoe region almost $50 million in the past two weeks in damages from the blaze. California’s Dixie Fire is actually on track to become the state’s largest wildfire ever recorded. Even the most remote parts of Siberia can’t escape this natural disaster’s wrath.

Agafya Lykova spent decades in the very hut she was birthed in. Her family stumbled upon this neck of the woods while escaping Stanlin’s death squads back in 1936. She is the sole survivor of her family today, though the wildfire made it a pretty close call. In the past, Agafya refused any help. As she began to show signs of aging, however, she changed her mind. Volunteers from the city nearby often check in on her as well as tend to any grounds business the woman cannot complete herself. If it weren’t for them, Agafya might not still be here. After helping the woman with some preparations for the bitter Siberian winter ahead, the volunteer crew left by boat. They didn’t make it very far before one of them spotted the flames.

By the time the volunteer crew made it back to the site of her home, the flames had already completely engulfed the old hut. Luckily, they were able to keep Agafya safe while also preventing the spread of any more flames. With their quick wit, they squandered the wildfire before it could reach Afafya’s new home close by.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry captured the aftermath of the damage. Take a look here:

(Photo by Russia Emergencies Ministry\TASS via Getty Images)

Looking Ahead

Earlier this year, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska gifted Lykova a new house on the same land as her beloved hut. Actually, the story behind the new house’s erection is quite interesting. Because Lykova refused to ever leave the forest, building the new house involved flying in piece by piece. Completely untouched by the disaster, it provides a safe place to live and sleep while re-building efforts are underway across the rest of the grounds.

Animals on the property also miraculously escaped any harm somehow. Authorities did not release an official cause for the flames, but a pesky candle is most likely the culprit. This is not the first encounter between Agafya and rescue crews. The Siberian Times reported on a medical check-called on the woman back in 2014. A devout Old Believer, she remains uninterested in much contact with the outer world. Here’s to wishing the “World’s Loneliest Woman” many more years of safety and solitude.