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N.Y. to Maine Hit by Rare Drought Killing Crops, Sparking Fires

US Northeast farmers are warning of a ‘desperate time’

The Charles River in Massachusetts
The Charles River in MassachusettsPhotographer: Brian K. Sullivan/Bloomberg

It’s barely September, but crops are withering and brown leaves carpet the ground. Forests are bursting into flames. An iconic river is, in some places, little more than a mud-choked stream.

This isn’t the US West, where a historic megadrought is threatening supplies of food, drinking water and hydropower. It’s the Northeast — a region where, for most people, the parched conditions are more nuisance than crisis. But for farmers from New York to Maine, the dry weather has been nothing short of disastrous, and rainfall this week provided little relief.