dry dirt cinoby (iStock)

Photo Credit: cinoby (iStock).

According to United States Drought Monitor, drought conditions have gotten significantly worse in Colorado in recent days and weeks.

Last week, approximately 72 percent of Colorado was experiencing "severe" drought conditions or worse. This has now jumped to just over 93 percent. Drought is measured on a scale of zero to four, with "severe drought" conditions landing in the middle of that ranking, followed by "extreme drought" and "exceptional drought."

In the past week, conditions in part of Colorado have also entered the most serious state of drought – "exceptional drought." This now represents .38 percent of the state, with the conditions present in part of the Eastern Plains in Kiowa County. It's also worth noting that 100 percent of the state is at least abnormally dry and that 98 percent of the state is officially experiencing some level of drought.

The largest portion of drought area consists of the western third of the state, specifically the southwest area. A large chunk of land stretching along the southern border and up the western border has entered "extreme drought."

Once "extreme drought" levels are reached, large fires are likely. Massive fish loss starts occurring and outdoor recreation activities can become limited. Sometimes, water restrictions are put in place and insect infestations can occur. Upon entering "exceptional drought" conditions, things get worse. Dust storms become widespread and agricultural and recreational economic losses become large.

During these drought conditions, do your part to prevent wildfires from sparking. Follow the rules of varying fire bans and be a responsible camper.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside

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