SALEM, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Deschutes County, along with seven others, Friday. "The majority of our state is parched due to the warm winter and lack of snow," Governor Brown said. "As we move into summer, many areas of the state are going to dry out very quickly, likely leading to a difficult fire season as well as water shortages. We need our state, local and federal partners to be prepared as our communities grapple with hot and dry conditions." She expects water shortages for farmers and ranchers, as well as low river and stream levels.
The new counties under drought declarations are Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla and Wasco. They join Crook, Baker, Harney, Klamath, Lake, Malheur and Wheeler counties declared as drought emergency areas earlier this year. In all of 2014, a total of nine counties were under drought emergencies.
According to the Governor's office, the drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed in an effort to ensure limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible. While recreational areas around the state are open for business for Memorial Day weekend, the long-term forecast calls for temperatures well above normal.