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Washington • Every county in Utah will be covered by a disaster declaration because of the ongoing drought after the Agriculture Department on Tuesday added two new counties and their adjacent areas. The designation will allow farmers in the state to seek low-interest emergency loans.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a letter to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert that the department would add Duchesne and Uintah counties to the disaster declaration as well as nine counties that abut the area, including three in Colorado.
All but two of Utah counties were previously included in the disaster area and the latest move covers the rest of the state. Some counties are covered as primary disasters while others are included because they are contiguous to the initial areas.
The western United States is facing a serious drought this year and Utah farmers are already seeing the impacts of less water from a below-average snowpack. Federal and state officials are also fearing a more dangerous wildfire season.
Tuesday's letter from the Agriculture Department added Carbon, Daggett, Emery, Grand, Summit, Utah and Wasatch counties as contiguous disaster areas. Daggett and Summit counties had been the only two in the state without any disaster designation.