The latest data released by the U.S. Drought Monitory Thursday shows that a moderate to exceptional drought covers 39.5% of the United States including Puerto Rico.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 126 million people or about 40.7% of the population.
Drought conditions in large areas of California and Colorado are helping to fuel the record-setting fires in the states.
For much of the United States around and west of the Rocky Mountains, the summer and autumn of 2020 have been rough. Nearly 80 percent of the region is facing some level of drought, affecting 40 million people.
Heatwaves have intermittently baked various regions of the Southwest. And wildfires have raged, fueled by unusual lightning storms, parched vegetation, and other hints of a changing climate. The natural drama has been punctuated by the fact that Colorado and California have set records for the largest fires (by area) in each state’s history.