For those of us living in Southern California, it's going to be a long hot up summer:
California is facing the worst fire conditions in almost a century, and worried fire officials are calling on the public to help be prepared.
Lack of rain and dry fuel conditions prompted the state's firefighting agency to declare the start of fire season earlier than normal in three Southern California counties, including San Diego.
In San Diego, the fire chief held a news conference to sound a warning.
"In my 23 years of experience, I personally have never seen a fire danger this high," said Tracy Jarman, chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
It's virtually stopped raining:
So far this year, San Diego's Lindbergh Field, the region's main measuring spot, has received about one-third the normal rainfall it receives for the season. As of July 1, the season total at the airport was 3.85 inches of rain. Normal annual rainfall is 10.77 inches.
Southern California's water sources, the Colorado River and the Sierra snowpack, are drying up.
The Colorado River is enduring its eighth year of drought, and the winter snow that blanketed the Sierras contains just 40 percent of the water content it typically does. The prolonged drought on the Colorado -- the worst in a century -- is not news to water agencies. But the state Department of Water Resources is now reporting that the water stored in the Sierras is at its lowest level since 1988. If next year's winter is similarly dry, water shortages could follow.
My advice: pack up the women and children and head for the hills.
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