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Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced a drought emergency for Wheeler County due to low snowpack, lack of precipitation, low streamflows, and warming temperatures as wildfires spread throughout Oregon.

“Drought conditions and unusually high temperatures could have serious impacts on Wheeler County's economy, as well as natural resources, livestock, and fisheries,” Governor Brown said. “To minimize these impacts and provide support to the community, I'm directing state agencies to work with local and federal partners to provide assistance to Wheeler County.”

Wheeler County is the seventh county under a drought emergency this year, joining Klamath, Grant, Harney, Lake, Baker and Douglas Counties. The Governor's drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible.

Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve, and drought is likely to have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economy. Wheeler County officials requested the state to take action on July 12, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the counties' requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.

Oregon's state agencies will continue to work with local governments and other partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize actions to address drought-related issues. The Governor's drought declaration authorizes state agencies to expedite water management tools to which users would not otherwise have access. As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions will be closely monitored by the state's natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Wheeler County Drought Declaration
Wheeler County Commission Drought Declaration Requ…
State Drought Declaration Process & Emerge…


Chris Pair
Bryan Hockaday
Kate Kondayen