BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Drought conditions in North Dakota have significantly improved because of widespread precipitation recently.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that much of western and central North Dakota is in severe drought, but that is an upgrade from the extreme drought category a week ago.
And, Golden Valley County, which had the worst rating of exceptional drought has improved to severe drought.
A large portion of eastern North Dakota also has been upgraded. Much of the region is now listed only as “abnormally dry,” and most of the southeast has been moved out of any drought category, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
Recent rain and snow have boosted soil moisture in North Dakota for two straight weeks.
“Excluding the northwest corner of North Dakota, 14-day precipitation amounts have totaled 2 to 6 inches,” said Climate Prediction Center meteorologist Brad Pugh.
The precipitation and a dropping temperatures have curtailed wildfire activity exacerbated by the drought.
“We are still at the same numbers for wildfire acreage and totals as we were last week, which is a great testament to how the recent rains and other conditions have helped,” said Beth Hill, acting outreach and education manager for the North Dakota Forest Service.
There have been about 2,400 wildfires in North Dakota burning nearly 200 square miles this year. The number of fires is more than 2½ times the number all of last year, and the acres that burned are more than 10 times what burned in all of 2020.