Klamath, Jackson, Coos and Curry counties are included in the emergency drought declarations
SALEM — Governor Kate Brown on Friday, May 15, declared a drought emergency in Coos County, the fourth such declaration so far this year due to low snowpack, lack of precipitation, low streamflows, and warming temperatures. Brown had made the same declarations for Curry, Jackson and Klamath counties.
The latest announcement of a drought emergency comes in May, Wildfire Awareness Month, as Oregon braces for a busy fire season. Fire season in Southwest Oregon began on May 1, one of the earliest dates on record.
“As Oregon begins to slowly reopen our communities and economies, it is critical that every Oregonian do their part to mitigate and prevent wildfires," said Gov. Brown. "It’s especially important we do our part to support our wildfire crews this year, as they face the prospect of mitigating threats on two fronts this season –– stopping the fires that endanger our homes and communities, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their wildfire camps."
Drought conditions and unusually high temperatures this year are likely to have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and local economies. To minimize those impacts, the governor has directed state agencies to work with local and federal partners to assist Klamath, Jackson, Coos, and Curry counties.
The governor's drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible. Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve through the summer months.
The governor’s drought declaration authorizes state agencies to expedite water management tools to which users would not otherwise have access. As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.