Update from the Pacific Institute California Drought Response Group – May 16

drought-banner2

 

 

 

For the latest updates about the California drought go to www.californiadrought.org.

This week in… Wildfires

Read Previous Updates

We’re doing another wildfire update sooner than expected, as several large fires have broken out in the San Diego area in just the past few days. The largest of these are in the area around Camp Pendleton.

The Pulgas Fire, which broke out yesterday afternoon, is the most recent and has already burned 8,000 acres around the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton. The fire is only 5% contained. This is the third fire the base has been battling with assistance from other local fire response teams. The Tomahawk Fire broke out in the morning on May 14, having spread from the Naval Weapons Station in Fallbrook to Camp Pendleton. This fire has now engulfed 6,300 acres and is 23% contained.

Fire

Acres

County

Date Started

Pulgas Fire 

8,000 acres

San Diego County 

May 15, 2014 3:15 pm 

Freeway Fire  

56 acres

San Diego County  

May 14, 2014 5:43 pm 

Cocos Fire

3,018 acres

San Diego County  

May 14, 2014 4:00 pm 

Fiddler Fire 

50 acres

Shasta County 

May 14, 2014 2:00 pm 

Highway Fire

380 acres

San Diego County 

May 14, 2014 1:00 pm 

River Fire 

105 acres

San Diego County 

May 14, 2014 12:12 pm 

Poinsettia Fire

400 acres

San Diego County 

May 14, 2014 10:30 am 

Tomahawk Fire

6,300 acres

San Diego County 

May 14, 2014 9:45 am 

Miguelito Fire

632 acres

Santa Barbara County 

May 13, 2014 2:00 pm 

Bernardo Fire

1,548 acres

San Diego County 

May 13, 2014 11:00 am 

Jacumba Fire 

29 acres

San Diego County 

May 5, 2014 4:36 pm 

San Lucas Fire 

75 acres

Monterey County 

April 30, 2014 2:25 pm 

Etiwanda Fire

2,143 acres

San Bernardino County 

April 30, 2014 8:00 am 

Source: Most of this information can be found through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
Information is subject to frequent changes and may already be out of date; please visit the website for the most current information.

San Diego Wildfires

Location of current, uncontained fires in California. Not all of these fires are listed in the table above; please visit the website for the most current information. Source: http://goo.gl/maps/CAlw

 San Diego Wildfires

Fires that are still burning but which are 100% contained. Not all of these fires are listed in the table above; please visit the website for the most current information. Source: http://goo.gl/maps/CAlw

In Other News…

  • On Tuesday, for the first time ever, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) announced that on Thursday it would begin delivering Millerton Lake water to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. Although the USBR has historically met its contractual obligations to the Exchange Contractors with water from the Delta, because of the drought, it says it must supplement with water from the San Joaquin River. The Friant Water Authority, a public joint-powers agency representing 21 water agencies along the southern San Joaquin Valley’s East Side and which operates and maintains the Friant-Kern Canal for the USBR, has expressed frustration with the USBR’s decision.
  • New research published this week in the journal Nature suggests that groundwater withdrawals in the Central Valley may be increasing the frequency of earthquakes.

California Drought Status

US Drought Monitor

Although conditions haven’t changed much from last week, the entire state of California is now considered to be in at least “severe drought” conditions, with 77% of the state in extreme drought and 25% in exceptional drought.

US Drought Monitor 5-13-14

 Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Precipitation

Northern California received some precipitation this week, but the rest of the state remains rainless.

Precipitation 5-15

Source: Western Regional Climate Center

Snowpack

California snowpack is currently 4% of the April 1 average, down from 9% last week.

Snowpack 5-16-14

 Source: California Data Exchange Center

Water Supply Conditions

This graph shows statewide percent of average conditions on May 1 for 2001 through 2014 for snowpack, precipitation, runoff, and reservoir storage.

Water Supply Conditions 5-1-14

Source: California Data Exchange Center

Reservoir Conditions

Reservoir conditions haven’t changed much since last week. Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 49% of total capacity and about 64% of historical average. Levels in the state’s nine largest reservoirs – which together hold about 74% of the state’s total capacity – are below 60% of their historical average and below 47% of their total capacity.

Reservoir Conditions 5-15-14

Source: California Data Exchange Center
See full-sized image.