COVID-19 - The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect.
The U.S. has extended an order closing the shared border to nonessential traffic until at least August 21, 2021. Canada will allow fully vaccinated Americans to visit Canada beginning August 9th. However, there are several additional requirements you need to be aware of. See Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for additional requirements: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/gbi-rgf-eng.html.
An "Excessive Heat Warning" is in effect until Friday 8:00pm. Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures rising into the mid 80s to lower 90s today, 90s to near 100 degrees Thursday and Friday. Highs still near 90 Saturday. Hottest temperatures over the Southwest Interior, Cascade foothills, and Cascade Valleys.
A "Red Flag Warning" is in effect from 11:00am this morning to 10:00pm tomorrow evening for hot, dry and unstable conditions for fire weather zones 658 and 659. Fire Weather Zone 658 includes the west slopes of the North Cascades generally above 1500 feet. Fire Weather Zone 659 is located farther south.
Northwest and Olympic Clean Air Agencies are forecasting smoke impacts for Skagit, Island, Whatcom, Jefferson and Clallam Counties through Saturday. This alert is due to wildfire smoke entering the region from Southern B.C.. Impacts are expected to produce periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality. Areas of northern Whatcom County potentially could experience periods of Unhealthy air quality.
*SR 20 North Cascades Highway as 0f 8/10/2021. Currently on SR 20 there is a reduced speed zone of 35 m.p.h. between milepost 147 and 171 while fire response activity continues in the area. Travelers should expect longer than normal travel times. Do not attempt to pass other vehicles or pull over on the side of the road within the reduced speed zone. Check the WSDOT travel alerts page for current travel information.
The Whatcom County Fire Marshal has issued a Stage 2 Burn Ban for unincorporated Whatcom County; it will remain in effect until further notice . For more information, see the following site for more information about this announcement: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/381/Fire-Marshal
Governor Inslee has issued an Emergency Proclamation titled "Wildfires-Burn Ban". This burn ban "imposes a temporary outdoor burn ban by prohibiting all outdoor and agricultural burning in all 39 Washington Counties until noon on Thursday September 30, 2021." Of equal importance is another phrase in the proclamation: "Nothing in this order supersedes more restrictive provision of the counties, municipalities, fire districts, other political subdivision, or public or private landowners." If you review Whatcom County's Stage 2 Burn Ban you will see it IS more restrictive. Additionally, national park service, US Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources, individual fire districts, etc. have their own set of rules which you must review and comply with.
American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, who currently reside in the U.S. and who qualify as fully vaccinated travelers, will be able to enter Canada for discretionary travel starting August 9. Details can be obtained by visiting https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html . There are additional requirements for travel so see the CBSA website.
State Route 9: Single lane closure today between Sumas and Nooksack as BNSF conducts some work; expect some minor delays. Also, intermittent single lane closures continuing through the month of August and possible into September just south of Acme. More information will forthcoming. Expect some delays during this time. as crews continue to complete the project. WSDOT has been committed to fish barrier correction for more than three decades. A single removed barrier can deliver impressive benefits improving fish habitat both upstream and downstream. Interested in learning more about fish passages, check out our latest fish passage annual report.
Heat continues today with added air quality issues from the wildfire smoke east of the Cascades bleeding into our area. It should clear out tomorrow, but between now and then, individuals with allergies or health problems, should take protective measures. Regarding the excessive heat warning, some location such as Maple Falls and Newhalem will see the warning extend into tomorrow ending at 7:00pm. Winds will not be strong enough to clear things out today and the air will be pretty stagnant. So, look for highs around 85 degrees in Point Roberts, 90 in Bellingham, and 95 or a little warmer in Lynden and Sumas. Lows tonight will drop back into the low 60s. Winds will continue to be light. Tomorrow, with the exception of the locations mentioned earlier, temperatures will be anywhere from five to eight degrees cooler and the air quality should improve somewhat. Sunday will see temperatures considerable cooler than today-anywhere from 10-15 degrees under mostly sunny skies.
The fire danger remains high. Before engaging in any outdoor work (e.g. cutting wood, using a weed eater, welding, etc.) or outdoor activities, think through what might create sparks or enough heat to ignite dry fuels. Where you park and the surface you park your vehicle (e.g. concrete, asphalt or grass) plays a huge role in possible ignition. You make the difference. Thank you.
**As we enter these warm to hot summer days, it is absolutely crucial you keep the following in mind if you have small children or pets in your vehicle. It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature to reach 104 degrees if the outside temperature is 85 degrees. In 20 minutes, the temperature will reach 114 degrees. And in 30 minutes, it will be 119 degrees.**
Flows within the rivers and streams of Whatcom County are normal; expect them to continue to flow steady at current levels.
Onshore flow will gradually ramp up over the next couple of days. A weak front will move into the Coastal Waters Sunday then fall apart over the Inland Waters on Monday.. Winds. Today: SE wind to 10 knots becoming SW in the afternoon. Wind waves 1' or less. Haze and areas of smoke. Tonight: S wind to 10 knots becoming SE 5-15 knots after midnight. Wind waves 2' or less. Haze and areas of smoke. Tomorrow: S wind 10-20 knots easing to 10 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1-3' subsiding to 1' or less in the afternoon. Haze and areas of smoke in the morning. Tomorrow Night. S wind 10-20 knots. Wind waves 1-3'. Sunday: S wind 5-15 knots. Wind waves 2' or less. Sunday Night: S wind to 10 knots. Wind waves 1' or less.
Emergency Management Tips and Reminders
Keeping Cool in Hot Weather
1. Drink plenty of fluids (water, juice, etc.)
2. Use portable and ceiling fans.
3. Use cool washcloths, ice packs and take cold showers
4. Avoid cooking on the stove.
5. Keep the curtains drawn.
6. Use light bedding.
7. Stay in lower areas of your home.
And, check on your neighbors to make sure they are alright.
Fuels are dry with lower humidity and temperatures that can be expected to reach into the 80s. Know what your local jurisdictions restrictions are concerning recreational fires, barbeques, etc. by checking your local jurisdictions website or contacting your local fire district. For unincorporated Whatcom County residents visit the Whatcom County Fire Marshal's website at https://www.whatcomcounty.us/381/Fire-Marshal.
See Advisories, Watches, and Warnings above for new or updated fire hazard restrictions (e.g. Stage 2 Burn Ban; Governor Inslee Wildfire Emergency Proclamation).
Information concerning face coverings and other protective actions can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department Website.
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.