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The Department of Water Resources (DWR) reported that a "fire of undetermined origin" broke out in the State Water Project’s Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping-Generating plant near Oroville early on Thanksgiving morning.

The fire is not expected to interrupt water deliveries and there were no injuries. No personnel were in the plant when the fire started, according to DWR.

"Fire at the plant, four miles west of Oroville in Butte County, was detected about 7 a.m., and was responded to by CAL FIRE. Crews fighting the fire eventually had to exit the facility due to life-threatening dangers from collapsing equipment, zero visibility and other conditions," DWR stated. "The fire was stil burning Thursday night. CAL FIRE and DWR continue to monitor the situation."

Thermalito Pumping-Generating Plant is operated in tandem with Hyatt Powerplant beneath Oroville Dam and the nearby Thermalito Diversion Dam powerplant to produce electrical power to pump State Water Project water.

"Water released from Lake Oroville behind Oroville Dam can be diverted around the pumping-generating plant, so deliveries will not be impacted and no flow changes are expected in the downstream Feather River. Damage to the plant, however, will reduce electrical generation, meaning the Department of Water Resources will have to purchase additional power to pump water," the agency noted.

"The State Water Project delivers water to more than 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of irrigated farmland," DWR stated.

The Department of Water Resources operates and maintains the State Water Project, provides dam safety and flood control and inspection services, assists local water districts in water management and water conservation planning, and plans for future statewide water needs.“

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for reporting on this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, KenBee, kurt

    It's pretty amazing that I can get my local news here. I wouldn't have known about it until tomorrows paper.

    I just checked the local TV's website and they had less info than you.

    I love DKos.

    Diaries are funny things Sam. Type one letter and you never know where you might end up. My apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

    by Caddis Fly on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 06:28:18 PM PST

  •  I don't get it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, BlueMississippi, kurt

    The entire article is cut and pasted from another source, presumably local.  It must be local, since it doesn't even mention what state this is about.  No link to the original source.

    And this is on the Rec list?  Maybe we're all still sleeping off the tryptophan?

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 06:56:49 PM PST

  •  Lake County News (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Lake County News

    altho YubaNet has more, like this:

    The structure is 5 stories in size, 1 story above ground and the other 4 below ground. There are 4 generating units within the structure. Heavy fire was found in the control room within the 2nd floor.

    The fire extinguishment system activated prior to the firefighters arrival, to no avail.

    Multiple hard fought interior attacks of the fire were made. Due to the collapse of power plant heavy equipment within the structure, the extreme distance to the seat of the fire from the outside, zero visibility inside and a multitude of other life threatening hazards within the power plant, fire crews were repositioned to the exterior of the structure. bold...

    No idea what this is going to mean, but what an ugly sounding scene.
        Costs for repairs?
        Impact on Gov's tunnel plan?

    We shall see....a very black friday indeed, so glad no one hurt, I used to work inside something similar and can't begin to imagine trying to fight this while still burning, much less get in to make assessments and repairs.

    Keep us posted Dan.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:38:43 PM PST

    •  I would normally comment on this situation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Normally I would comment on a DWR release, but I quoted it just as is because there was nobody available to answer my questions at the time.

      The first thing that comes to mind to me: why is DWR and the Bureau so freaked out by the bogeyman of earthquakes, even though prominent scientists say this is bogus, when their facilities are apparently so susceptible to a catastrophe from a fire? Won't more complex facilities such as peripheral tunnels t that the Governator II wants to build make the water supply and power generation facilities even more vulnerable to fire?

  •  My MIL works for the Water Department. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, KenBee

    She got a call in the middle of our Thanksgiving party telling her about the fire, and asking her to arrange for a photographer to get up there to chronicle the situation. It was weird. Thanks for the update.

    "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

    by tb92 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:38:41 PM PST

  •  This will be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, KenBee

    A very costly event.  DWR will need years of reconstruction to replace just the control room equipment. All that wiring and control mechanisms.  that power station was run remotely so there is all that as well.  Not a good time to have this happen.  I wonder if we will ever find out that deferred maintenance was a contributing factor. DWR rarely admits that since it would be embarrassing to the DWR Director and the Governor

    Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be experienced.

    by DarkHawk98 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 12:48:39 AM PST

  •  Using money to make operational and investment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    decisions is a bad idea. It seemed like a good short - hand and "objective" in the sense that personal preferences and prejudices could seemingly be ruled out. But, the objectivity provided by the quantity of money available for a project proved illusory because the monetary criteria proved easy to fudge and to serve as a shield for real intent, which often boils down to "personal" criteria such as career advancement or power plays, which, btw, are also easy to hide behind the proverbial "bottom line" -- i.e. profit taken out of redundancy and long-range investment.
    Not having personnel on site is a symptom -- evidence of a lack of appreciation for redundancy.

    It seems somewhat peculiar that in an age when "management" was redefined as dealing with people and making them compliant, instead of being focused on allocating and conserving our material resource base, people have been systematically replaced by machines. It's as if dealing with people proved too hard, so it was decided to dispense with them entirely. I wonder if dealing with people effectively is not something that can be taught or are the people trying to do it too focused on punishment and reward?

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:24:00 AM PST

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