Crews are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of other water infrastructure, including power plants and power lines, the agency reported in a press statement.
"DWR is just one of several state agencies and departments with employees and contractors personally impacted by these most recent wildfires," the statement says. "Those who have requested it have been given the ability to take leave to attend to their families. The department will continue to maintain sufficient staffing to monitor the incident around the clock."
Agency officials say they're in close communication with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the state Office of Emergency Services and local emergency managers to track the status of this dynamic situation.
Oroville spillways and Thermalito construction operations have been shut down. Officials say the DWR is taking precautionary measures to protect infrastructure including wetting down the potentially at-risk areas with water trucks, placing backup generators at key facilities in Oroville Field Division for the possibility of a power outage or loss of the power lines due to the fires, and creating staffing plans to continue managing State Water Project operations remotely if Oroville Field Division staff and facilities are evacuated.
Lake Oroville is the chief reservoir for the State Water Project, whose contractors irrigate about 750,000 acres of Central Valley farmland, and serve more than 26 million customers, according to the project’s website.
The Camp Fire in Butte County had burned 135,000 acres and was 35 percent contained as of today, according to Cal Fire. The fire has killed at least 48 people and destroyed more than 7,700 homes and 260 commercial buildings. Farm groups say there is damage to agriculture, although many landowners and officials have yet to get in and learn the extent.