The first two months of this year have been the driest on record in the US, foreshadowing a summer of poor crops and brutal wildfires. Texas farmers have delayed planting corn and cotton, while cattle ranchers have sold off cows they can no longer feed. “It might take me 10 years or more to get back where I was,” one tells USA Today.
In California, the state is using prison inmate crews to clear brush and create firebreaks around communities as the threat of wildfire increases. The winter dry spell—the worst since at least 1895—worsened conditions in already parched regions. The nation has had 11,814 wildfires this year, the most for a two-month period in a decade. (Read more drought stories.)