Sep 11, 2017
Frustration, friction flashed behind the scenes as Oroville Dam emergency grew
In the confusion and chaos of the emergency at Oroville Dam, as thousands of residents were being evacuated, public safety officials and others involved in managing the crisis found themselves clashing with the people operating the nation’s tallest dam.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea questioned an assertion by the director of the state Department of Water Resources that the situation was stabilizing. He demanded to know whether the technical experts advising dam operators were properly credentialed. Honea and Cal Fire incident commander Kevin Lawson shot down suggestions that water could be allowed to flow once again down the dam’s emergency spillway – the structure whose near-failure prompted the evacuation in the first place.