CALIFORNIA—Governor Jerry Brown has issued a red flag warning of extreme fire danger as well as a drought emergency on Friday, January 17. Some speculate that the announcement is premature for fire season, but firefighters have insisted it is not.
The emergency allows California to seek assistance from the federal government in the form of financial support as well as other manifestations.
Governor Brown stated the following in the State of Emergency Proclamation:“The state of California is experiencing record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record.”
The state’s water supplies are falling to alarming levels and the snowpack in California’s mountains is 20 percent of the normal average. The dry temperature and lack of rainfall present an immediate threat to drinking supplies andCaliforniaagriculture. Communities dependent on farming could be affected by an increase in unemployment.
In the Proclamation, Brown goes on to describe the “scientific projections” that expect this trend of extreme conditions to persist.
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
Additionally, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire seasonal firefighters to help control and suppress wildfires during this time of especially high risk.
ForCaliforniaresidents the drought translates to lifestyle adjustments. The Department of Water Resources is conducting a statewide water conservation campaign to bring public awareness and encourage personal reduction of water usage.
The campaign is building on the existing Save Our Water campaign in hopes of reducing usage by 20 percent. More information about the campaign can be accessed at www.saveourh20.org.
By Shanna Holako