Photo: In an aerial view, the San Gabriel River and the exposed lakebed of the San Gabriel Reservoir are seen on June 29, 2021 in the San Gabriel Mountains near Azusa, California. Credit: Mario Tama Getty Images
The western United States is experiencing its worst drought this century, threatening to kill crops, spark wildfires and harm public health as hot and dry conditions are expected to continue this month.
More than 93% of the land in seven Western states is in drought conditions, and nearly 59% of the area is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought—the two worst conditions—according to the latest figures released by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Both figures are the highest this century for the area that covers all of Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and most of Utah.
Before this year, the record for the amount of Western land in extreme or exceptional drought was 43%, set in September 2003.
The conditions have led to fire and fishing restrictions across the West and have prompted wildfire alerts. The National Interagency Fire Center is warning that the intensifying drought across the West is creating significant wildfire risk over the next three months from California to the Northwest and across the northern […]