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Officials ban recreational drone use over Oroville Dam spillway

Kristopher Hooks

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The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary ban on the private use drones and aircraft over the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway to allow crews to work without interference.

In a press conference Thursday, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said if anyone was found flying recreational drones in the no-fly zone, that person would be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."

"I understand the interest," Honea said Wednesday, while announcing the restrictions. "I understand that people want to use those drones to get pictures and video. The problem is, if they’re up there flying those drones, it interferes with our air operations.

The no-fly restrictions, which will end May 13, affect a five-mile radius and 3,000-feet altitude around the Oroville Dam Spillway incident, according to the FAA.

Fines for flying drones in no-fly zones can cost up to $27,500 in fines. There have been no reports of arrests or citations from the sheriff's office since Wednesday's announcement

"Not only is it a threat to public safety, that is a no-fly zone," Honea said. "So my staff will also be looking, if you’re in there — in the area — and you’re flying drones, we’re going to address that, and that may result in arrests."