The state firefighting agency today began hiring several hundred seasonal firefighters to staff fire stations from the Sacramento foothills to San Diego County.
"Even with the recent rain that we've had, it has not been enough to really make a dent in our drought conditionk" says Daniel Berlant with CalFire.
"Typically we start bringing on seasonal firefighters in Northern California around mid to late May, even some years into early June," says Berlant. "This early to have to bring on seasonals just shows us how dry conditions are."
Berlant says between January 1st and March 22nd of this year, CalFire has responded to more than 800 wildland blazes. In an average year, the agency responds to fewer than 275 over the same period. Berlant says CalFire will hire 75 additional seasonal firefighters in its Sacramento region and Bay Area units.
California lawmakers heard testimony about the dire state of the fishing industry on the West Coast.
There was a slight reduction in the percentage of drought in California over the past week. But the U.S. Drought Monitor says it will take time to ease the state's historic four-year drought.
A new study says California's four-year drought has reduced hydroelectricity generation, resulting in higher electricity costs to ratepayers and increased greenhouse gas pollution.
Legislation introduced in the California state Assembly would create the Lower American River Conservancy to improve, protect, preserve and possibly expand the 5,000-acre American River Parkway.
January brought above-average rainfall and snow to much of California, partly due to El Niño. But forecasters say the ocean warming condition is "taking a break" for the next week or longer.