California governor Gavin Newsom expanded an emergency drought declaration from two to 41 of the state’s 58 counties on Monday. Of California’s nearly 40 million people, around 30% now live under a drought emergency that Newsom said is likely to expand. “We’re staring down at what could be disastrous summer and fall, with the potential of communities running out [of] water, and fires,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, who was with Newsom at the announcement. Climate change is making droughts more likely to occur, and more severe when they do, and thus makes wildfires more extreme as forests and other fuels sources are turned into proverbial tinder boxes.
“The hots are getting a lot hotter in this state, the dries are getting a lot drier,” Newsom said. “We have a conveyance system, a water system, that was designed for a world that no longer exists.” (AP, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times $, CAL Matters, Mercury News, Deadline, Axios, Reuters, The Hill; Climate Signals background: Drought, Wildfires)