Normally rains help drive salt and other toxic minerals deeper into the soil and away from roots of plants.
When that doesn’t happen, farmers can irrigate a little more. But that may not be an option during this drought.
Greg Norris is a state conservation engineer with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says even if farmers have enough water to irrigate, the crop might not produce enough to be viable.
Norris says barley is one crop that’s very salt tolerant. But it’s not just salt that can be a problem.
“They could look at a different crop that’s more salt tolerant or if they can’t do that they could plant a cover crop that is salt tolerant," says Norris. "They may or may not need to irrigate it but it would at least provide some cover to prevent soil erosion either from wind or water.”
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.
The U.S. Forest Service says 66 million trees are dead in the Sierra Nevada after four consecutive years of drought in California and a bark beetle infestation.
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought and water providers continue to urge voluntary conservation, as mandatory statewide rules have ended. Sacramento-area residents reduced their water use by 31 percent in May.
As thousands of federal and state firefighters work to contain wildfires in California and other western states, record-setting heat has prompted warnings from the National Weather Service for parts of California, Nevada and Arizona.