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California drought and fire conditions worsen

Kern County in the 'exceptional' or worse range.
Posted at 11:17 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 11:20:31-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Believe it or not, but we actually got some rain in Bakersfield on Tuesday. While it was a good sight to see, we need much more than that to break out of this current drought we’re in.

And with most of the state experiencing “extreme” drought conditions, it’s even worse here in Kern County. Here locally, we are in the “exceptional” or range.

Carlos Molina with the National Weather Service in Hanford says the state only received 75% of our allotted rainfall for the 2019-2020 season. And this past year, numbers dropped down to 50 percent.

“We’re definitely going to need more than a monsoon. We’re going to need a winter event where we see not only 100% of the total precipitation, but more towards 150% or maybe even 175% to reclaim that deficit.”

Molina says Bakersfield has only received around 2 inches of rain since January 1st of this year. Whereas on a normal year, we’d see more than 4 inches by now.

“We are seeing record levels right now, when we’re doing the comparison for the 2020-2021 season, it is actually being compared now to the 1976-1977 drought.”

Molina says the Kern County Mountains are also dry due to the lack of snowfall during that time.

And according to the U.S drought monitor, exceptional drought conditions affects the following:

  • Fire season is very costly, the number of fires and area burnt are extensive
  • Fish rescue and relocation begins
  • Forest mortality is high
  • Wetlands dry up
  • Survival of native plants and animals is low
  • Algae blooms appear
  • Vegetable yields and low
  • Harvest is small
  • Wildlife death is widespread