WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The water level in Lake Okeechobee, a reservoir for millions in parched south Florida, dropped to a record low Thursday, the local water district said.
The lake water level was 8.94 feet Thursday, breaking a record low of 8.97 feet set in a 2001 drought.
Thursday's water level was 4 feet below the average for this time of year, the South Florida Water Management District said.
A 12,000-acre section of the 730-square-mile lake was smoking with wildfires, The New York Times reported.
The weather was not helping with the wildfires or a drought that has hit all of south Florida.
"This year is definitely a larger challenge than 2001," Carol Wehle, executive director of the water district told the Times.
She said winds contribute to the dropping lake level by accelerating evaporation.
"Add to that warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine and when it gets this dry it doesn't take much for the fire to spread," she said.
"We need feet of rain, but coming every day throughout the summer," she said. "When you have one big storm dumping a lot of water, the system can't catch it."
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