Drought in western U.S. is biggest in years and predicted to worsen during winter months. The drought is exacerbating wildfires and taxing water resources. Some excerpts:
The largest and most intense drought in years is engulfing the West and threatens to grow larger and more severe in the coming months.
The drought has already been a major contributor to record wildfire activity in California and Colorado. Its continuation could also deplete rivers, stifle crops and eventually drain water supplies in some Western states.
Nationwide, drought has expanded to its greatest areal coverage since 2013; 72.5 million people are in areas affected by drought. More than one-third of the West is in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two most severe categories, according to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor.