Dry conditions are linked to more frequent and severe dust storms and wildfires.
Dr. Linda Rudolph from the non-profit Public Health Institute says the associated particulate matter is bad news for people with lung problems and heart disease.
"There might be an increased risk of pneumonia for people who are exposed to a lot of dust. In fact in the dust bowl in the 30’s, there were hundreds to thousands of deaths from what people called ‘dust pneumonia.'"
~Dr. Linda Rudolph, Public Health Institute
Rudolph says drought can dry up well water and increase water contamination in areas already struggling to get access to clean water.
She also says drought affects agricultural production, which rolls into problems with food prices and unemployment.
And those circumstances add more obstacles to staying healthy.
A new study shows fire-fighting foam containing highly fluorinated chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many of the nation's military bases, airports and industrial sites.
It has been a busy fire season across California. But there are fewer fires in the state’s 18 U.S. national forests so far this year, compared to 2015.
Update 8:00 p.m. Sunday: Crews are making "good progress" on the Cold Fire in Yolo County, now at 60% containment. In Monterey County, the Soberanes Fire remains at 45% containment with wind creating an additional challenge for firefighters.
The Soberanes Fire near Big Sur is burning in a rugged area that hasn't "seen fire in decades." The wildfire is 45 percent contained at 57,500 acres.
The number of acres burned by wildfires in the U.S. is about average for this time of year. But, in California, the 'new normal' includes larger and more frequent wildfires.