These Daily Briefings on Incidents, Advisories, Watches and Warnings, current weather and Emergency Management tips are published Monday through Friday, as well as during times of increased awareness or actual events.
Due to the warm weather conditions ahead and decreasing fuel moisture levels, the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office will be enacting restrictions on open burning in unincorporated Whatcom County effective July 27, 2020 until further notice. For more information on the countywide burn ban, please refer to this press release.
Effective July 28, 2020, outdoor burning, the use of charcoal briquettes, and prescribed burns are banned on all forest lands within the State of Washington under Department of Natural Resources fire protection through September 30, 2020. This ban applies to all forested parcels being assessed for DNR fire protection, in or out of fire districts. This date may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions. For more information on the statewide burn ban, please refer to this commissioner’s order.
The U.S. and Canada have for a third time extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. The move delays the border’s reopening by another 30 days, until at least August 21, 2020. This includes both vehicular traffic as well as recreational boating between the countries.
The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect. Information about Whatcom County’s response to COVID-19 is available at the Joint Information Center’s COVID-19 website.
Whatcom County is in Phase 2 of the Washington Safe Start Plan, and does not yet meet eligibility requirements to apply for Phase 3. Simplistically, social distancing, the mask directive and groups of 5 or less are the guidelines of Phase 2. More info about Phase 2 in Whatcom County can be found here, and updates can be found here.
Washington state has implemented a cloth mask mandate requiring the wearing of a mask in public indoors and wherever a social distance of six feet cannot be maintained outdoors. More info can be found here and here.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
There is a fire weather watch in effect from Saturday morning through Sunday evening in the west slopes of the North and Central Cascades, generally above 1,500 ft. There is also an excessive heat watch in effect from Sunday morning through Sunday evening in the Cascades.
Whatcom County Weather
Dry weather and increasing temperatures expected for the next few days. Clear skies are expected today with a bit warmer temperatures. Skies then remain clear through tonight and Saturday. Expecting temperatures to jump up to the 80’s Saturday afternoon. Winds remain generally light.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Coastal and Inland waters of Whatcom County, we can expect southerly wind to 10 knots, becoming westerly in the afternoon. Wind waves should be 1 foot or less. Tonight, the winds should be westerly 5 to 15 knots, becoming northwesterly after midnight, with wind waves 2 feet or less.
Tides at Cherry Point for the next two days:
Here are a few emergency management reminders:
COVID-19: Everyone in Washington State, including Whatcom County, is directed to wear a face covering while at any indoor public space and any outdoor public space where you may be within 6 feet of someone who does not live with you. You can find more info about face coverings and other protective actions here and here.
Backcountry Emergency Management Tips: August and September are perhaps the best two months to hike our mountains and backcountry. There is nothing better than being on a ridge hiking with the sun warming your face. However, it’s also important to remember that in addition to the “normal” first aid emergencies, natural disasters also can have a huge impact on your afternoon or weeklong hiking trip. Earthquakes can cause landslides, rock falls, or severe storms. Wildfires can consume thousands of acres in hours. Flash floods and high rivers can cut bridges and trails. The important thing is not to be afraid, but to be prepared. Here are a few tips for anyone going hiking or into the backcountry:
What if an emergency occurs? – any kind of emergency!
Depending on what has happened, perhaps the most important thing is not to panic but STOP, THINK, OBSERVE, and PLAN. And stay where you are unless it is safe and you know the way out. You might need to spend the night which means you need to build or put up your shelter. You may need to use your first aid kit. You need to build a fire. You need to hydrate, possibly find food, and know how to signal.
There are some great resources out there to get trained on Wilderness Survival, Wilderness First Aid, and preparing for your hike – and remember, you need to be prepared just as much for a two hour hike as you are for a two day hike. Here are three local resources (among many great ones):
"Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters." - Pandora Poikilo
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.