The updates presented at the November 6, 2012 meeting confirmed that Arizona remains in long term drought with projections for warmer temperatures and increased wildfire risk. Key points include the following:
- The entire state continues to be in some level of drought, with the driest conditions continuing in the central and southeastern part of the state. The overall condition for the 2012 water year is moderate drought.
- The current outlook for winter 2012-2013 is slightly better chances for above average temperatures, and equal chances for above, below or near normal precipitation. The outlook for summer 2013 is increased chances of above average temperature, and equal chances for monsoon precipitation to be above, below, or near normal.
- The impact of drought on range and farmland resulted in a U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster designation for all Arizona counties. The average forage production across Arizona was approximately 63 percent of normal for 2012. Even though monsoon rainfall resulted in significant greening, many areas are still very dry, with drying stockponds and dry grasses in pasture land.
- Wildfires had less overall impact on forest health in 2012 than 2011, however, areas of reburn are becoming a concern, there has been an increase in defoliating insect activity possibly exacerbated by drought, and the continuing drought increases the state’s vulnerability to wildfires statewide. Also, the intensity of wildfires and their proximity to development are increasing.
Drought-related Disasters and Hazards
Fire Season and Forest Health Update
Impacts of Drought on Wildlife
Range and Forage Health Conditions Update
Based on this information, the ICG unanimously recommended that both drought declarations be kept in place:
- Drought Emergency Declaration (PCA 99006) has been in effect since June 1999 and maintains the state’s ability to provide emergency response if needed. It also enables farmers and ranchers to obtain funding assistance through the Farm Service Agency if they experience production losses due to drought.
- The Drought Declaration for the State of Arizona (Executive Order 2007-10) was issued in May 2007 to raise awareness of Arizona’s continuing long-term drought and encourage conservation.
Nov 6, 2012 Drought Recommendation Letter to the Governor