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Butte County Sheriff’s Star Rises With Relief Roles

CHICO, Calif. (AP) – The Butte County Sheriff’s popularity is growing after playing a central role in two major crises. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents as a wildfire roared through the town of Paradise this month. He also told people living downstream of a dam to flee last year as a spillway threatened to collapse and flood communities. Honea gets applause and handshakes at public appearances as the face of the force fighting the flames and bringing relief to those who lost everything. The evacuation in both disasters turned chaotic at times and led to complaints of miscommunication and disorganization. But Honea’s handling of both crises ultimately burnished his public image as a decisive and a strong leader.