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The original item was published from 8/27/2021 9:45:42 AM to 9/3/2021 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: August 27, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Friday, August 27, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

SR-20 open. SR-9 intermittent lane closure south of Acme. I-5 southbound closure Sun and Mon night (see below). Gradual clearing later, highs mid to upper 60s and low 50s tonight. Tomorrow thru Tues partly to mostly sunny. Highs 60s and 70s. Lows 50s.

Active Incidents

On August 18th, Governor Inslee brought back a statewide mask mandate and also broached a mandatory vaccine issue.  Please see the Governor's website at the following URL:

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 September 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:

Advisories, Watches and Warning

I-5 Southbound Closure:  Travelers on southbound Interstate 5 in Bellingham should plan to use alternate routes – including a signed detour – and allow for extra time during overnight full closures on Sunday, Aug. 29, and Monday, Aug. 30. Southbound I-5 will be closed between Meridian Street/Bellis Fair Mail Parkway and Sunset Drive both nights.  On Sunday, Aug. 29 and Monday, Aug. 30:

  • 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Single lane of southbound I-5 closed.
  • 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Full southbound I-5 closure.
  • 5 a.m. – All lanes of southbound I-5 open.

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:

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 .  There are additional requirements for travel so see the CBSA website.

State Route 9:  Intermittent single lane closures continuing through the month of August and possibly into September just south of Acme.  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

Inland Weather

Showers and drizzle will move out of the area as the day draws on. Temperatures will remain on the cooler side with a little breeze from the west or south.  We can expect 60s is the lower elevations but there will be some 50s in the Newhalem area.  Lows will be in the 50s as well.  Newhalem will get close to 50 degrees and it would not be surprising for a few upper 40 degrees readings toshow up.  Tomorrow and Sunday, temperatures will warm up to the low to mid-70s and then drop back again in the evening to the mid or lower 50s.  By Monday and Tuesday, temperatures will again begin to move a little lower and the highs will be the mid to  upper 60s.  Skies will be partly cloudy to mostly sunny during this period.  Continue to be vigilant concerning the potential for wildfire. The moisture helps but is not enough to change the conditions yet.

Rivers and Streams

Flows within the rivers and streams of Whatcom County are normal; expect them to continue to flow steady at current levels.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

High pressure rebuilds offshore over the weekend and into the start of next week, brining a return of northwest winds over the coastal waters and west winds through the Strait of Juan de Fuca each evening.   The next front approaches the waters later Monday.   Winds.  Today:  SW wind 5-15 knots becoming S to 10 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2' or less.  A slight chance of showers.   Tonight.  S wind  to 10 knots.  Wind waves 1' or less.  Tomorrow:   Light wind becoming W to 120 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1' or less.  Patchy dense for in the morning.  Tomorrow Night.  W wind to 10 knots becoming S after midnight.  Wind waves 1' or less.  Sunday:  SW wind to 10 knots becoming W in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1' or less.  Sunday Night:   SW wind 10-20 knots Wind waves 1-3'. 


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Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

Fire Hazards

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   

See Advisories, Watches, and Warnings above for new or updated fire hazard restrictions (e.g. Stage 2 Burn Ban; Governor Inslee Wildfire Emergency Proclamation).

Before a wildfire threatens your area…

In and around your home

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Learn more about the basics of defensible space on the Firewise website.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
  • Learn more about how to protect your home and property at

Creating an emergency plan

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit and place it in a safe spot. Remember to include important documents, medications and personal identification.
  • Develop an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with everyone in your home.
  • Plan two ways out of your neighborhood and designate a meeting place.
  • Learn more about emergency preparedness planning on NFPA’s emergency planning webpage.

In your community:

  • Contact your local planning/zoning office to find out if your home is in a high wildfire risk area, and if there are specific local or county ordinances you should be following.
  • If you are part of a homeowner association, work with them to identify regulations that incorporate proven preparedness landscaping, home design and building material use.
  • Talk to your local fire department about how to prepare, when to evacuate, and the response you and your neighbors can expect in the event of a wildfire.
  • Learn about wildfire risk reduction efforts, including how land management agencies use prescribed fire to manage local landscapes.
  • Learn how you can make a positive difference in your community. 

During the time a wildfire is in your area…

  • Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets prepared to evacuate. 
  • Place your emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle. 
  • Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed and garage as possible. 
  • Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home. 
  • Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops. 
  • Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate. Do not linger once evacuation orders have been given. Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire, and helps ensure residents’ safety. 

After a wildfire has been contained…

  • Continue to listen to news updates for information about the fire. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. 



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.

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