Environmental officials in Massachusetts say the state is experiencing significant drought conditions following months of below normal rainfall and above average temperatures.
Kathleen Theoharides, the state’s Secretary Energy and Environmental Affairs, on Thursday declared that all seven counties are in a Level 2 drought.
She said the designation means state and local officials need to put renewed emphasis on water conservation, including issuing more stringent restrictions in the most impacted communities.
Theoharides said the threat of wildfires is also heightened in the usually dry conditions and urged people to take precautions when using charcoal grills, matches, and other open flames while outdoors.
She said most regions were experiencing a classic long-term drought, but Cape Cod and other areas in the southeastern part of the state are dealing with a conditions resembling a “flash drought” that can also increase fire danger and impact agricultural crops.
Massachusetts recorded its second hottest July on record last month and temperatures throughout the first two weeks of August are nearly 4 degrees above normal in places, state officials said. Most areas, meanwhile, are seeing rainfall that’s about 1 to 3 inches below normal precipitation.