OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California man has been arrested on suspicion of killing a woman whose body was discovered as the state's most destructive wildfire raged nearby.
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — An investigation has determined that a July 2017 wildfire that destroyed more than 40 homes in Northern California was sparked by a defective electrical panel at a Butte...
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — An epic winter of rain and snow has refilled California's reservoirs and pressed into service a spillway at the nation's tallest dam Tuesday, a $1 billion structure that...
The Latest: Winter storms swell California snowpack
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California officials using a spillway at the nation's tallest dam for the first time in two years and surveying mountain snowpack (all times...
Water flows on rebuilt spillway at nation’s tallest dam in California for 1st time since it crumbled in near catastrophe
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Water flows on rebuilt spillway at nation’s tallest dam in California for 1st time since it crumbled in near catastrophe.
Repaired spillway at nation’s tallest dam to be deployed
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The flood-control spillway at the nation's tallest dam will be deployed this week for the first time since it was rebuilt after it crumbled during heavy rains two years...
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The federal government has rejected $306 million in reimbursements for California's repair of damaged spillways on the nation's tallest dam, a state agency said...
Flash flood watch issued for Northern California burn area
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Another Pacific storm moving into Northern California has prompted a flash flood watch for communities hit by last year's devastating wildfire.
The National Weather Service says mud and debris flows are possible in and around the town of Paradise through 9 p.m. Sunday.
Forecasters say thunderstorms packing heavy rainfall could cause small rivers and creeks to rise quickly.
The Latest: Sheriff: Death toll raises to 48 in wildfire
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):
Authorities have reported six more fatalities from a blaze in Northern California, bringing the total number of fatalities so far to 48 in the deadliest wildfire in state history.
The announcement came Tuesday after authorities ramped up the search for more victims buried in rubble left by the blaze that incinerated the town of Paradise.
The Latest: Fire captain says wildfire destroys Calif. town
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
A fire official says the Northern California town of Paradise has been "pretty much" destroyed.
CalFire Capt. Scott McLean says a wind-whipped wildfire destroyed thousands of structures but he said they won't have an exact count until they can get into the area.
Officials: California dam spillway will be ready for rain
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water officials said Wednesday that the $1.1 billion spillway at the nation's tallest dam will be in full working order if it's needed this winter, nearly two years after it was damaged and thousands were forced to flee.
California officials say $1.1 billion spillway at nation’s tallest dam will be ready for this year’s rainy season
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — California officials say $1.1 billion spillway at nation's tallest dam will be ready for this year's rainy season.
Reconstruction efforts to the main spillway at Lake Oroville could start to ramp up as early as this week if federal officials sign off on the Department of Water Resources’ operational plans for 2018.
DWR officials submitted the updated plans to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Division of Safety of Dams for approval on Tuesday, requesting that crews be allowed to start the final phase of reconstruction as soon as possible.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a wet California storm (all times local):
Officials say water flows into Lake Oroville following the Northern California storm are not enough to require opening the partially rebuilt spillway at the troubled dam.
California Department of Water Resources officials said Sunday that the lake level stayed below 800 feet (244 meters) and inflows are now tapering off.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a Northern California storm (all times local):
Heavy rain is falling in Northern California as a "Pineapple Express" storm system lashes the region.
The National Weather Service says many areas have received about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain in the past 24 hours but Venado in Sonoma County has gotten nearly 5 inches (12 centimeters).
The Latest: Yosemite campsites closed before storm
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on Yosemite closing campsites because of storm (all times local):
Yosemite National Park says it's closing campgrounds in the California park because of an approaching storm.
The park says all campgrounds and visitor lodging in Yosemite Valley will be closed to visitors beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and reservations through Saturday have been cancelled.
Campgrounds will remain open I other areas, including El Portal.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Oroville Dam operators said Tuesday they may have to release water over a partially rebuilt spillway for the first time since repairs began on the badly damaged structure last summer.
Department of Water Resources officials said anticipated storms could trigger releases this week or next. They've stepped up releases through other outlets in hopes of avoiding the need to use the spillway.
More than $400 million in funding has been approved for the Highway 70 Safety Improvement Project focused on expanding the highway between Oroville and Marysville. Opponents – a group of concerned District 10 residents – say the project will make things worse and are adamant that a bypass is the safest route to take.
SACRAMENTO – The state Department of Water Resources submitted its plan to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday to address findings in the independent forensic report.
The extensive forensic report, released on Jan. 5, blamed “long-term systematic failure,” including faulty design and insufficient maintenance, for the Oroville Dam crisis in February 2017. It also had criticisms of DWR’s response to the spillways’ failure.
Lessons learned from 2017 disasters, Yuba-Sutter officials reflect on the recent past
Between the Oroville Dam emergency spillway and wildfires, the past year was a learning opportunity for area emergency services officials.
Though emergency response plans have long been in place, 2017 presented lessons in public trust, public notification, emergency center organization and preparedness.
Officials submitted reflections on what their entities have learned about emergency response and how Yuba-Sutter is better prepared for the future.
California governor signs dam-safety bill prompted by crisis
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that seeks to beef up dam inspections following a near disaster that caused the evacuation of almost 200,000 people living downstream from the tallest one in the United States.
The measure implements several recommendations from experts who reviewed the crisis at Oroville Dam last year.
DWR: Work on emergency spillway nearing completion
Though the final phase of repair work on the main spillway at Lake Oroville is now on the back burner until spring, Department of Water Resources officials said crews are making significant progress on repairing the emergency spillway.
Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., the company in charge of repairing the reservoir’s damaged spillways by January 2019, stopped heavy construction on the main chute over the winter months.
Oroville Dam: Assemblyman James Gallagher brings group of legislators to Oroville
OROVILLE – Assemblyman James Gallagher rounded up a group of bipartisan legislators to visit Oroville on Thursday, where they met with community members and toured the now-infamous dam.
Exactly one year after more than 180,000 residents from Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties were forced to evacuate due to a deteriorating spillway at Lake Oroville, a bill focused on improving the state’s dam safety protocol was passed by the Legislature.
The state Assembly passed the bill – authored by Assemblyman James Gallagher – early Monday afternoon, just before a press conference was held by North State officials to reiterate the need for better dam safety throughout the state.
This time last year looked much, much different for Yuba-Sutter residents.
There was rain and rising water – lots of it.
After being told for days that all was well at Oroville Dam, an unexpected emergency alert called for evacuations, saying a “wall of water” was impending. The date was Feb. 12, 2017.
Panic set in and 188,000 people jammed the roadways for hours, trying to reach family, friends, even a hotel, with no idea whether they would have a home to return to.
Oroville crisis drives harder look at aging US dams
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One year after the worst structural failures at a major U.S. dam in a generation, federal regulators who oversee California's half-century-old, towering Oroville Dam say they are looking hard at how they overlooked its built-in weaknesses for decades.
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Local officials clarify the language in evacuations:
Emergency authorities in Southern California this week eliminated the word “voluntary” from language used in evacuation orders because it confused residents when deadly mudslides struck in January. Similar language used last year in Yuba City during the Oroville Dam spillway crisis also led to misinterpretations.
ORORVILLE – Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced Wednesday that his office filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources for environmental damages to the Feather River as a result of the Oroville Dam crisis.
An Oroville man was arrested after Yuba City police and Butte County sheriff's deputies thwarted a threatened casino mass shooting.
Wade Burnside, 26, was booked into Butte County Jail on suspicion of terrorist threats, possession of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of ammunition, and violation of probation with $500,000 bail.
Nine individuals or entities from Yuba-Sutter are suing the California Department of Water Resources for more than $27 million in damages suffered as a consequence of the Lake Oroville spillway crisis last February.
The action is part of a larger lawsuit involving more than 40 individuals or groups from around the North State that reportedly suffered more than $100 million in damages from the ordeal.
Driver pleads no contest in Highway 70 crash that killed Yuba City cousins
A man accused of drinking and driving in a crash that killed two Yuba City cousins on Highway 70 south of Oroville pleaded no contest, according to court documents.
Marc Andrews, 47, of Oroville appeared Tuesday in Butte County Superior Court and pleaded no contest to a felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to the documents.
Clarification: Damaged Dam story
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a story Jan. 26 about damage to California's Oroville Dam, The Associated Press reported that the state Department of Water Resources' estimate of $870 million for emergency response and repairs "should stand." The story should have included an explanation by DWR spokeswoman Erin Mellon that while all known costs so far are included in the total, unforeseen events could change the final bill.
State officials say crisis at faltering Northern California dam has cost $870 million
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — State officials say crisis at faltering Northern California dam has cost $870 million.
State of the State: Absence of Oroville Dam, water infrastructure draws ire
Locals were waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to say something during his final State of the State Address about the Oroville Dam crisis and infrastructure.
They were disappointed. And the lack of reference to the dam was a major criticism from officials.
Assemblyman James Gallagher, Republican from Yuba City, said as Brown continued to laud the importance of the state infrastructure projects, he waited to hear some kind of mention of Oroville Dam or the evacuation that occurred almost one year ago.
DWR at hearing: Control of spillway gates could have been lost during crisis
OROVILLE – The state Department of Water Resources could have lost control of the spillway radial gates for days during the Oroville Dam crisis if crucial power lines had gone down, department officials said.
DWR leaders Cindy Messer and Joel Ledesma stated this Jan. 10 during a legislative oversight hearing on the dam at the state Capitol. The revelations have led some local groups to wonder why there was no backup power supply.
5 California Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking California news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
1. SHACKLED CHILDREN
Parents of 13 children allegedly held captive are expected to appear in court in Riverside County.
California city sues state over Oroville Dam crisis in 2017
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A small California city at the base of the tallest U.S. dam filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state over an emergency that forced authorities to order 188,000 people to flee last year, arguing the crisis was caused by decades of mismanagement.
The City of Oroville blames a culture of cronyism and a priority for low cost dam repairs over quality maintenance for the crisis.
City of Oroville to sue over losses due to dam emergency
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The city of Oroville plans to sue state water officials for damages caused when thousands of its residents had to be evacuated last year after the Oroville Dam spillways failed.
Oroville City Attorney Scott Huber says the city will file the lawsuit Wednesday, when officials also plan to hold a news conference.
Shake-up at California agency after critical dam report
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California restructured a key water agency Wednesday in the wake of a scathing independent report on last year's crisis at Oroville Dam.
Changes included Gov. Jerry Brown's administration naming a new director for the Department of Water Resources, the second change of top leadership at the agency since the February crisis at the nation's tallest dam.
Both spillways at the dam gave way that month, forcing evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people downstream.
A Yuba County Superior Court judge denied the compassionate release of an Oroville pedophile convicted of murdering an Oregon House man in 1980.
Lawrence D. Williams, 72, who is serving a lifetime prison sentence for murder, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given five months to live, according to court documents.
The California Department of Corrections referred Williams for early release with the first request and hearing the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office has received.
Complacency, bureaucracy and an inadequate safety culture led to the failure last year of the Oroville Dam spillway, according to an independent investigation report released Friday.
The findings point to human error by a number of organizations, but say that the dam’s owner, the California Department of Water Resources, was “significantly overconfident and complacent about the integrity of its State Water Project civil infrastructure, including dams.”
BIGGS – A 28-year-old Oroville man who was driving a reportedly stolen Honda Accord was identified as the driver killed in a Friday morning crash on Highway 99 north of Biggs.
His name has not been released.
The crash happened just before 6 a.m., just south of East Hamilton Road.
Survivors of the crash were Ryan Woodson, 36, of Auburn, who was driving a 1996 Chevrolet Suburban, and Guillermo Hernandez, 38, of Gridley, who was driving a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup.
Safety probe warns California’s dam crisis a ‘wake-up call’
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — "Long-term and systemic failures" by California dam managers and regulators to recognize inherent construction and design flaws at the tallest U.S. dam caused last year's near-disaster there, an independent panel of dam safety experts said Friday, calling it a wake-up call for dam operators around the country.
The Latest: California reviews dam safety after tough report
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on an independent panel finding "long-term and systemic failures" by California's Department of Water Resources, regulators led to crisis at nation's tallest dam. (all times local):
California state officials say they are reviewing their organizational structure and dam-safety program in the wake of a scathing report on the causes of the Oroville Dam crisis.
OROVILLE – A Gridley man has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for his role in a deadly crash last May on Highway 99 near Biggs.
Frank Mattos, 71, previously pleaded no contest in Butte County Superior Court to a felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the crash that killed 56-year-old John Russom of Oroville.
Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a six-part series reviewing stories reported by Appeal reporters in 2017 for the Yuba-Sutter-Colusa area. (Dates are when the news stories were published.)
Sept. 1: The Department of Water Resources confirmed the state agency’s initial statements that the green spot on the front of Oroville Lake Dam is vegetation caused by rainwater and not seepage through the structure.
The Lake Oroville spillway crisis and evacuation last February might have only lasted a few days for Yuba-Sutter residents, but the ordeal left many with unanswered questions and a newfound fear of the unknowns of living downstream from an aging water storage facility and system.
Questions about who is to blame for the spillway’s failure, how it happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again continue to resonate with local residents close to a year after the event occurred.
Since the Lake Oroville spillway crisis, some Yuba-Sutter residents have expressed concerns over the Department of Water Resources’ handling of the ordeal, calling for the state agency to accept some level of responsibility what happened.
Though DWR maintains it did everything by the book, an official with the department acknowledged that the book might be a bit outdated and said there is plenty to learn from the situation by all of the nation’s dam safety community.