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Climate Adaptation

Drought Has Gripped Every Inch of California for Almost 7 Months

  • Dry conditions straining water supplies, adding to fire risks
  • Expanding drought is now menacing 11 states across U.S. West
Phoenix Lake during a drought in Ross, California on Oct. 13. 

Phoenix Lake during a drought in Ross, California on Oct. 13. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Drought has gripped every inch of California for 30 straight weeks, or more than half a year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor

Abnormally dry conditions began to afflict parts of the Golden State as far back as February 2020 and by May of this year had enveloped every corner of California. That’s strained water resources and added to ongoing wildfire risks. So far this year, more than 8,000 fires have charred almost 3.1 million acres across California, exceeding the five-year average.