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Feds Name California Counties Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due To Drought

Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The photo on the left from Jan. 13, 2013 shows more green vegetation in central and southern California compared to the photo on the right from Jan. 13, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture named Los Angeles and San Bernardino among 27 California counties designated primary natural disaster areas due to recent drought. San Diego was not among those listed.

U.S. Department of Commerce

This map released Jan. 16, 2014 shows the U.S. seasonal drought outlook for January through April of this year.

The designations come on the same day authorities ordered evacuations amid a 1,700-acre wildfire raging in northeast Los Angeles. San Diego County and a large part of Southern California are under a red flag warning for the fourth consecutive day.

California Counties Designated Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Alameda

Alpine

Amador

Calaveras

Contra Costa

El Dorado

Fresno

Inyo

Kern

Kings

Los Angeles

Madera

Mariposa

Merced

Mono

Monterey

Sacramento

Santa Clara

San Benito

San Bernardino

San Joaquin

San Luis Obispo

Santa Barbara

Stanislaus

Tulare

Tuolmne

Ventura

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency

"Our hearts go out to those California farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

“President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling California producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood,” he said.

California is experiencing its third straight dry winter, and a recent evaluation of the state's dismal snow pack underscores the severity of the problem.

According to the USDA, farmers and ranchers in Orange, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Sutter, Placer San Mateo, Solano and Yolo counties "also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous."

Counties in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas were also named.

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