Courtesy US Drought Monitor

As wildfires burn across Colorado, hot and dry conditions have grown more extreme. Three southeastern Colorado counties have reached the most extreme drought categorization of exceptional, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Currently more than 80 percent of the state is in some form of drought. The most extreme classification of exceptional covers the Four Corners region as well as Montrose, San Miguel, Archuleta, Saguache, Custer, Huerfano, Costilla and Las Animas counties.

Compared to the previous week, Otero and its neighboring counties were pushed into exceptional drought.

Meteorologist Mike Nelson told Colorado Matters that the coming monsoon season has the potential to douse wildfires and cool down conditions in Colorado. However, assistant state climatologist Becky Bolinger told the Associated Press that the upcoming monsoon season won’t completely un-do the drought conditions.

“We haven’t seen enough precipitation to improve conditions,” Bolinger said. “Small rain events aren’t making a dent in this drought.”