Yosemite National Park is seeing summer-sized numbers of visitors, even on winter occasions like this past week-end's Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The lack of snowfall has opened up much of the park to activities usually available only other seasons.
Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb says visitors can explore more of the park than what would usually be open at this time of year.
But there are downsides. Mild temperatures and lack of snow mean many bears have skipped hibernation and are foraging for food and that can bring them into contact with people.
Cobb says Yosemite Falls, one of the park's favorite attractions, could go dry by June if there is no more rain or snow.
The drought intensified over the last week in the Western U.S. as the region swelters under a heatwave and firefighters battle major wildfires.
Dangerous fire weather conditions has prompted one federal agency to impose fire restrictions on public lands in northern California.
Mandatory statewide water conservation rules have ended in California. But Sacramento-area users conserved 22 percent in June, compared to June 2013.
California and federal agencies say a new strategy is needed to save the endangered Delta smelt.
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought, but state water managers ended mandatory conservation rules. Local water suppliers now determine conservation rates, and some have low or no targets. A water expert says that's 'shortsighted.'