Nightly News   |  January 18, 2014

Drought Causes State of Emergency in Calif.

The extreme drought has put California in a state of emergency as is fuels destructive wildfires northeast of Los Angeles.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in california a state of emergency is now in effect because of the extreme drought there, and those drought conditions are fueling a destructive wild fire that's been burning for days northeast of los angeles . we've got the latest from nbc's joe fryer.

>> reporter: the fiery images coming out of california this week seem to defy the calendar. this winter wildfire east of los angeles is a symptom of the draw the that covers parts of 11 states including a majority of california seeing the least amount of rainfall in more than a century.

>> it shouldn't be this dry.

>> reporter: for farmer joe delbosce, concern is growing that many of his crops won't be growing.

>> we're looking over here at our proposed can't at that lobe field.

>> reporter: in a normal year he would start planting in late march, early april. this year he's in limbo.

>> makes no sense to plant it if you don't have water.

>> reporter: the impact of that decision would be great during the 2009 dry spell. his payroll dribbled by 35%. just now getting back on his feet, here comes another drought.

>> it will hurt us economically. if we have another draw the next year it will be the end of my farm, it could be.

>> reporter: california governor jerry brown has declared a drought emergency and he's asking residents to cut back on their water use by 20%.

>> this is somewhat of a zero sum game . the more water we use, the less water we have.

>> reporter: some cities have already placed restrictions on water use, others are considering t. all of this happening during a time when california typically catches up on rain.

>> the drought is bad here in california and throughout the west and we are not seeing any significant changes coming this way for several months.

>> the message on his license plate is a reminder that the impact stretches beyond california .

>> if the ground is idol there won't be those fruits and vegetables in the produce section.

>> reporter: tonight the hills are still smoldering with hot spots east of los angeles . firefighters say they are gaining control and hope to have this fire fully contained as early as tomorrow. the governor's drought declaration means more seasonal firefighters will be haired to help with this extended wild fire season. lester.

>> joe fryer in southern california . thank you, joe .