The National Weather Service in Riverton on Thursday reported that drought conditions are continuing to expand through the western and central portion of Wyoming. Eventually, the entire state will be under drought conditions.

Recently, severe drought conditions have appeared over central Johnson County. Moderate conditions cover Big Horn, Hot Springs, Natrona, Washakie and the rest of Johnson County.

Abnormally dry conditions have been located across central and northwestern Park, western Fremont southeast and southern Sublette, Teton and western and northern Sweetwater counties.

Drought conditions carry a number of impacts with them, including increased fire danger and adverse effects on agriculture.

Thursday's announcement comes in the wake of two-Casper area fire agencies issuing increased burn restrictions.

On Wednesday, Mills Fire Chief Dave North issued a fire ban that includes open fires and bonfires. No fireworks of any kind may be used within Mills town limits.

The same day, the Natrona County Fire District announced that it will suspend all open burn permits due to unseasonably dry conditions, beginning Monday, June 29. 

The June 21 USDA Wyoming Crop Progress Report indicated that 54% of topsoil moisture across Wyoming was reported at short to very short. At the same time last year, only 6% reported the same.

"May was an extremely dry month across the region with many areas reporting less than 50% of normal precipitation," the Weather Service Report says. "Central and southwestern Wyoming were the hardest hit with sites like lander with 3% of normal May precipitation, Pathfinder Dam with 6%, Jeffrey City with 9%, Farson 10%, Basin with 16%, Casper 15%, Greybull with 20%, Rock Springs with 21%, Jackson with 53% and Cody with 59%," the report says.

While June has seen some rainfall, particularly the western and north-central portions of Wyoming, it's still been on the "dry side" for much of the state.

Unfortunately, forecasters predict that seasonal drought outlooks through September indicate that drought conditions are expected to stick around across central and northern Wyoming. Those conditions will likely spread through all of Wyoming.

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