Parched: Southeastern Oregon enters summer in drought

Parched: Southeastern Oregon enters summer in drought
Mike Skinner fills water troughs for cattle with a truck on June 27, 2013 in Jordan Valley, Ore. Cows can drink about about 30 gallons of water a day. Firefighters are nervous, and ranchers and farmers are hurting as far southeastern Oregon goes into a summer of drought. Gov. John Kitzhaber has already issued drought declarations for four counties, including Malheur, a Vermont-size corner of Oregon. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Thomas Boyd)

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — Firefighters are nervous, and ranchers and farmers are hurting as Malheur County enters summer in drought.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has issued drought declarations for four Oregon counties, including Malheur, the Vermont-size southeast corner of the state.

The Oregonian reports that ranchers are selling cattle because pastures are brown, and the drought has boosted feed prices.

Most irrigation reservoirs started the season at a third of capacity, and some irrigation districts have run out of water. Stream flows are approaching record lows in some places.

Federal officials plan to haul water to wild horses and wildlife.

And authorities say the drought sets up the region for more fast-moving wildfires touched off by lightning.

Last year, three fires burned across nearly a million acres in Malheur County and neighboring Harney County.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press