Board recommends drought declaration for Jackson County
By David Nogueras
Oregon Public Broadcasting
A state advisory board is recommending that Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber approve an emergency drought declaration in Jackson County.
That request came at a meeting this week in Salem of the Oregon Drought Council and the state water availability board.
Experts say the situation is less dire than it was two months ago. February and March boosted snowpacks across the state. But those snowpacks typically begin to melt in April, and much of Southern Oregon remains well below normal.
The governor has already approved drought declarations for Klamath, Malheur, Lake, Harney and Crook counties.
Oregon Department of Forestry’s Nick Yonker told the board that current conditions and forecasts suggest it could be a very long summer, and not just for agriculture.
“It pretty much makes it look like we’re going to see another type of fire season similar to last year, probably on the higher side,” said Yonker.
And that’s saying something, when you consider that 2013 was the most expensive fire season in ODF history.
The board plans to take up drought requests from Grant and Wheeler counties next month.