California’s drought and wildfire conditions are accelerating at unprecedented rates, according to state officials, and residents should brace for a summer of widespread burning and mandatory water conservation measures in some regions.
As reservoir levels across the state continue to drop, and as parched vegetation poses an increasing threat of wildfire, officials in Sacramento and Southern California offered a bleak assessment of the state’s drying climate, saying it has already begun to affect people, plants and animals.
The current drought, which blankets the entire state and a broad swath of the western United States, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, is already outpacing the state’s devastating 2012-16 drought, said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.
“It really wasn’t until year three or four when we saw these intense conditions … we’re now experiencing in the second year of the drought,” Nemeth said Friday. “That acceleration is really what’s new about this drought and what we’re working to respond to.”
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