The California drought is being called the worst in 100 years. The dire conditions prompted Governor Jerry brown to declare a drought emergency for the entire state. Extremely dry conditions have depleted reservoirs, natural water sources, and mountain snowpack. The weather has also led to numerous devastating wildfires.
Most recently, an abandoned campfire sparked a brush fire in Los Angeles County near Glendora. Although the fire is now 30 percent contained, it destroyed several vehicles, buildings, and 1700 acres of land. The Glendora fire threatened several residential communities and forced thousands to evacuate their homes. Although nobody was harmed, the fire is still devastating the region. Three young men were eventually arrested for negligence in connection with the fire.
As reported by CNN, Governor Brown asked residents to consider conserving up to 20 percent of water use statewide:
“It’s important to wake all Californians to the serious matter of the drought and lack of rain… We are in an unprecedented, serious situation that people should pause and reflect on how we’re dependent on rain, Mother Nature and each other.”
The extreme conditions began in 2011. In the last three years, the snowpack on California’s mountains fell 20 percent below average. The reservoirs, rivers, and lakes, are all experiencing “significantly reduced” water levels.
Brown said the California drought is the worst the state has seen in nearly 100 years and residents need to work together to conserve water. He also said state and local officials need to combine resources to assist those who are suffering in the drought.
Farms are a specific concern, as water shortages affect crops and livestock. Brown said efforts will be made to provide relief to all communities experiencing a shortage.
The National Weather Service has declared a Red Flag Warning for several southern regions. The warning is the highest level alert and indicates an extremely high risk of fire. During a Red Flag Warning, residents are warned to be cautious of any activity or machinery that may cause a spark.
With continued high winds and low humidity, a minute spark can lead to a devastating wildfire in a matter of minutes. Although CAL FIRE has additional staff and engines available during a Red Flag warning, fires spread quickly and can take weeks to contain.
As the California drought enters its third year, officials expect an exceptionally “intense fire season.” Meteorologist Chad Myers said up to 90 percent of the state “is in a severe drought.” He said if the extreme conditions continue, the fire hazard will continue to rise.
[Image via Flickr]