Obama assures federal agencies working to mitigate California drought

Jan. 30, 2014 at 1:04 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- President Obama Wednesday called Gov. Jerry Brown to express his commitment to providing federal support to combat California's historic drought.

"Today, the president called Governor Jerry Brown to receive an update on the situation in California and express his concern for the citizens impacted by the historic drought conditions facing the state -- conditions that are likely to have significant impacts on the state's communities, economy and environment in the coming months," the White House said in a statement.

Federal, state and local agencies are "working together to target resources to help California and other impacted states prepare for and lessen the impacts of the drought," and the Agriculture Department "is also working with farmers and ranchers to increase their irrigation water efficiency, protect vulnerable soils from erosion, and improve the health of pasture and range lands," the statement said.

Sacramento had its 47th consecutive day without rainfall Thursday, setting a winter drought record for California's capital, the National Weather Service said Friday.

The entire state is enduring a record drought. The 30 months that ended in December were the driest period of that length since statewide records began in 1895.

Much of the Golden State, especially in the north, has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers balanced by wild rainy winters. The record-breaking drought has been accompanied by winter wildfires.

A fire this week in Sequoia National Forest occurred at 7,500 feet, an area that would normally be deep in snow. Earlier this month, a fire in Humboldt County on California's north coast burned 333 acres in one of the wettest parts of the state.

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