One to two inches of rain in July did nothing to refill reservoirs in San Luis Obispo County.
The County’s Drought Task Force reports that reservoir levels dropped in July despite the record rainfall delivered by the remnants of Hurricane Dolores. Nacimiento Lake is at 24 percent capacity, Lopez Lake at 35 percent, Salinas Reservoir at 14 percent and Whale Rock Reservoir at 40 percent.
The county Board of Supervisors has continued an emergency drought proclamation first declared in March 2014. The dry conditions have increased the fire danger.
So far this year, Cal Fire in San Luis Obispo County has responded to 85 wildfires that burned 1,841 acres. Since 2007, the average for this period is 83 wildfires burning 441 acres.
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Forecasters are saying there is a 90 percent chance of a wet El Niño winter, but the long-term drought is likely to continue, said county Fire Chief Rob Lewin.
“The effect of the drought will be long-lasting,” he said. “The resulting dead brush and trees will continue to provide volatile fuels for fire in future fire seasons, regardless of whether we have a wet winter or not.”