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The Caledonian Record's Modern Archive contains staff-written and other selected articles from 1997 to the present.

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The Great Salt Lake has hit a new historic low for the second time in less than a year as the ongoing megadrought worsened by climate change continues to shrink the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi. Utah Department of Natural Resources said Monday in a news release the Great Salt Lake dipped Sunday to 4,190.1 feet (1,277.1 meters). That is lower than the previous historic low set in October, which at the time matched a 170-year record low. Water has been diverted away from the lake for years for homes and crops in the nation’s fastest-growing state.

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Fourth of July revelers stranded by a wildfire in a mountainous California region that’s a top tourist destination have safely evacuated, but the fire is still chewing through forests. The Sierra Nevada Gold Country fire tripled in size to more than 4.7 square miles Tuesday. The fire erupted Monday afternoon at a recreation area packed with people. Between 85 to 100 celebrating at a river were forced to take shelter at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility. Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman says they were safely evacuated. Evacuations were ordered in Amador and Calaveras counties. Redman suggested fireworks or a barbeque as a possible fire cause.

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Gardening when there's severe drought means setting priorities. Conserving water is always a good thing but it becomes non-negotiable when state and local governments enforce restrictions. AP gardening writer Jessica Damiano says that if you plan ahead you can use rain barrels or xeriscaping or plant native plants. At this point in the season you should focus on the plants you want to help most. Newly planted trees and shrubs need deep and regular watering. Older trees also can suffer from drought. And you'll probably want to save perennials. Watering the garden early in the morning is best. Invest in soaker hoses or drip irrigation instead of sprinklers. Use recycled household water. And keep the soil mulched and weed-free.

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Firefighters in Northern California are battling a fresh wildfire that broke out Monday east of Sacramento at a recreation area packed with Fourth of July revelers and forced a number of evacuations. According to Cal Fire the fire burning in Amador county had quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday. The fire agency had said just hours earlier on Twitter that the fire was 75 acres in size and “burning at a dangerous rate of spread in dry grass.” The Amador County Sheriff’s Office said as many as 100 people celebrating the holiday at a beach along a river in the area had to be evacuated to a nearby power facility.

The Italian government has declared a state of emergency for much of the rain-parched north, freeing up 36.5 million euros (about $38 million) in funds for the heavily agricultural regions. Premier Mario Draghi's office said the aid was approved at a Cabinet meeting Monday night in Rome. The Po River, whose waters help irrigate rice paddies, farm fields and grazing land for cows, is at its lowest level in some 70 years. Emergency decrees were decided for five regions: Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Some cities and towns in the north have put restrictions on water use by citizens.

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Tropical Storm Colin has brought rain and winds to parts of North and South Carolina, though the storm has weakened and conditions are expected to improve by Monday's July Fourth celebrations. Separately, the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the Pacific on Saturday after a rapid march across Central America, where it caused flooding, downed trees and forced thousands of people to evacuate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Forecasters say Bonnie is likely to become a hurricane by Monday off the southern coast of Mexico, but it is unlikely to make a direct hit on land.

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U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service says tests started last summer are continuing this summer with a magnesium-chloride-based retardant from Fortress. Fortress contends its retardants are effective and better for the environment than products offered by Perimeter Solutions. That company says its ammonium-phosphate-based retardants are superior. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons of retardant for the first time in 2020 as increasingly destructive wildfires plague the West.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proclaimed states of emergency in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties to help the process of recovery from recent wildfires. The proclamations allow the California Department of Transportation to request immediate federal assistance for highway repairs or reconstruction required after the last fall's Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County and the January Colorado Fire in Monterey County. The Santa Barbara County proclamation includes a provision to ease access to unemployment benefits for those unemployed as a result of the Alisal Fire. For other wildfires, Newsom signed an executive order extending prohibitions on price gouging in Butte, El Dorado and Plumas counties through Sept. 30.

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A Navy soldier stands guard as authorities wait for the arrival of people who were evacuated from the Monkey Point community, at the port in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Friday, July 1, 2022. Bonnie has formed over the Caribbean as it heads for a quick march across Central America and potential development into a hurricane after reemerging in the Pacific. (AP Photo/Inti Ocon)