Parts of Central CA in 'exceptional drought' as dry conditions worsen

Roughly 33% of the state is in the "exceptional drought" range, where the most severe level of dry conditions is occurring.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An updated map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows California's drought is worsening, with most of the state facing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, including all of Central California.

Roughly 33% of the state is in the "exceptional drought" range, where the most severe level of dry conditions is occurring. That includes portions of the Sierra foothill and mountain communities in Mariposa, Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties.

On the Valley floor, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Merced, Madera and Mariposa counties also fall under the "extreme drought" range, the second-most severe drought condition.

RELATED: Lake Mead at Hoover Dam reaches lowest water level since its creation

Regardless of where residents are in Central California, they're dealing with drought conditions, said ABC30 Meteorologist Madeline Evans.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 85% of California is in an "extreme drought." That's up from 33% recorded at the start of 2021.

More than 37 million Californians are living in a drought-affected area.

At this time last year, only 2.45% of the state was in an "extreme drought," but conditions were still dry.

RELATED: Fresno irrigation water deliveries begin but future deliveries remain unclear

The dry conditions and lack of rainfall are an increasing concern for fire danger.

On Thursday, CAL FIRE said the state is already experiencing a 26% increase in wildfire activity this year compared to 2020. Firefighters have also reported a 58% increase in the number of acres burned compared to this time last year.



Click here to read the U.S. Drought Monitor's weekly report.

RELATED: Map shows riskiest areas in California for damaging wildfires

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.