SALEM, Ore. — In northeast Oregon’s Union County, the snowpack is so thin that it has completely melted away in measurement sites.
Rivers are running lower, spelling bad news for farmers. The wildfire risk is high. Given these conditions, the county has declared a drought emergency and an early start to the fire season.
The conditions in Union County, home to 27,000 people spread out over 2,000 square miles, mirror those in much of the West Coast, where drought is above or near record levels, creating increased wildfire risk and hurting farmers, ranchers and fish species.