Oconee and Pickens in moderate drought

Oconee and Pickens counties are now in the category of moderate drought. The statewide committee re-evaluated all counties yesterday and, as it did, considered factors such as agriculture, forest fire potential, water supply, and water quality. At least one committee member declared that the drought has made for farming crisis. The committee heard from beef producers, forced to feed their winter hay in late summer, and there is a finite supply. It has also been a risk for them to plant any winter grazing because of the limited soil moisture. The drought has also decreased yield in row crops in the affected counties. However, after hearing from all sectors, and with the potential for heavy rainfall this weekend, the Committee decided to postpone moving to Severe Drought in any county and will reevaluate in two weeks. The Forestry Commission reported that just in October, it has responded to 127 wildfires that burned more than 780 acres. This is more than twice the number of wildfires for the month of October.