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The original item was published from 10/20/2022 8:35:48 AM to 10/27/2022 12:00:02 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 20, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, October 20, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Active Incidents

Sever Weather Damage 21-18 Emergency Proclamation by the Governor:  Covers the severe wind and rainstorm event that began on November 12, 2021.


The Whatcom County Fire Marshall issued a Stage 1 Burn Ban for unincorporated Whatcom County effective Saturday, July 16, 2022; this burn ban remains in effect today.  As of that time, all land clearing and yard debris burning was to be discontinued at that time and all issued burn permits are suspended.  Recreational fires will still be allowed with the landowner’s permission but must meet specific requirements (see URL:; or contact the fire marshal's office).   Addiotionally,

- If your property lies within Whatcom County Fire Districts (WCFD) 5- Pt. Roberts, 11- Lummi Island, or 17- Sandy Point, you must check with those fire districts for outdoor burning restrictions and to obtain outdoor burning permits (when available).


- If your property lies within, or you are visiting property that is fire protected by Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or a federal parks or forest agency, you must contact those organizations about outdoor burning restrictions.


.- SR-20 (North Cascade Highway).  Several single lane closures are in effect for this week.  Flaggers or temporary signals will be used to control traffic.  Check the WSDOT website for updates on closure status - 

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM PDT FRIDAY for west winds 20 to 30 kts. The area includes the West Entrance U. S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca, Central U. S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca, East Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca and Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.

-Air Quality Alert:  Until midnight PDT Thursday night. The air quality is expected to remain or become unhealthy for sensitive groups. The air quality along the Cascade Valleys may be further diminished during this period especially for locations near fires.  Everyone, especially sensitive groups, should limit time spent spent outdoors, avoid strenuous activities outdoors, and choose light
indoor activities.

Inland Whatcom County Weather

Some showers have developed around the county this morning but they are expected to stop a little later and partly sunny skies should return for one last round before the real rain sets in. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler, especially in the higher elevations. Bellingham will see a high of around 62 degrees today and 45 or so tonight.  Winds will remain around 10 mph. Pt Roberts will see a little different picture as winds from the northwest will develop this evening and tomorrow and gusts to 25-29 mph are expected.  Temperatures will be similar to Bellingham. Skies this evening will be mostly cloudy. Tomorrow and tomorrow night there is a 90% or better chance of rain.  From Sumas to Newhalem, we will see temperatures around 60 yet today but tomorrow and beyond expect 50s for highs with Newhalem only seeing highs around 40 degrees.  Lows for Sumas  will remain above freezing through the weekend but the same cannot be said for Maple Falls where a low of 29 is forecast for Saturday night. The Mt Baker Ski Area is expecting rain tomorrow and then rain/snow mixtures changing to snow showers for Saturday and Sunday.

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

The approaching weather system will bring needed precipitation to the area. There will be a small amount of runoff from the initial system causing the Nooksack River to rise less than a foot from the current level- this will pose no issue.  From that point we will see a slow, but steady rise in the river level over the next week.  Even then this will still leave the river fork levels well below any level for  concern. However, if you have any activities planned on or near the river, the level will rise; situational awareness is paramount so you don't put yourself in a position where your safety could be compromised.   And hypothermia is a real threat should you become wet.  Don't forget, you can always go to the Public Works website to check the river levels -

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

Elevated winds will persist into Thursday as a  weak front enters. Then, a more significant front will move  through Friday into Saturday for the potential for gale force  winds over the offshore waters.  WINDS: TODAY SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. Haze in the  morning. A slight chance of showers in the morning.  TONIGHT W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft.  FRI SW wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of  rain.  FRI NIGHT S wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less.  SAT NW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. 

Tide Information (Cherry Point)

October 20, 202201035.72
October 20, 20220759
October 20, 202215408.65
October 20, 20222206
October 21, 202202326.00
October 21, 20220852
October 21, 202216048.63
October 21, 20222226
October 22, 202203416.46
October 22, 20220939
October 22, 202216248.60
October 22, 20222249


Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

Fall Cleanup and Maintenance for Your Car

Fall weather is here along with the changes that come with it.  Here are a few things to accomplish as we transition to the unsettled weather:

-Inspect your car battery.  Check the connections to make sure they are snug and tight.  If there is a lot of corrosion around the post, have them cleaned so connections remain solid. Cold cranking amps are important as the days get colder.  Check with your service provider to make sure your battery is up to the task; there's nothing worse than the fading cranking power of our battery on a cold day.

-Check your headlights to make sure they are not glazed or clouded over.  With time, oxidation creates a film that results in a dimmer and more restricted illumination field.  Having someone clean them or cleaning them yourself will make a dramatic improvement.

-Tires are extremely important for several reasons. Remaining tread provides traction as well as channeling water away from the place where the tire contacts the road.  Reduction in tread enables water to build under the tire leading to hydroplaning and loss of control.  Tread helps ensure better traction in snow.

-Streaks on your windshield or the inability of the wipers to make solid contact with the windshield is a sure indicator your visibility is probably being limited as well.  If you're experiencing this, it's time to get new wipers.  You can install them yourself, or in some cases depending on where you purchase them, attendants will install them for you.

-Car repair in general.  if your vehicle is demonstrating abnormal issues (e.g. difficult starting, unknown noises, blower fans not working or squeaking/rattling, etc.), have them looked at as soon as you can as you will soon need the defrost function in your car and other issues are unlikely to get better on their own.

Flood Preparedness.  

Several inquiries have been made to this office regarding sand and sandbags.   Whatcom County does not provide either prior to a proclamation of emergency which is issued when flood conditions are clearly defined.  In addition, the number of bags the county has is limited and obtaining sand or additional sandbags in the midst of a flood fight may be impossible or delayed, at the very least. The number of locations where these items are placed is also limited.  If you are concerned about the need for sand or sandbags, now is the time for you to purchase these items through local vendors or order the sandbags online.  Sand can be obtained through local landscaping or sand and gravel companies.   In addition to sand and sandbags, some responders use plastic layered with sandbags to provide a protective barrier.   There are a number of short you tube videos explaining a variety of sandbag protective methods.  Whattcom County Public Works also has developed a list of vendors who have sand and sandbags for sale.  See:

Wildfire Preparedness

While we have been extremely fortunate concerning the risk for wildfire to date, things could change rapidly with dry, hot weather. Now is the time to inventory your home environment to see what wildfire risks you can mitigate against.  To that extent, the following information was taken from the National Fire Protection Agency on wildfire preparedness. Additional information about the wildfires and the Firewise program can be found at the NFPA website:

1. HOME IGNITION ZONES:  To increase your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire, choose fire-resistant building materials and limit the amount of flammable vegetation in the three home ignition zones. The zones include the Immediate Zone: (0 to 5 feet around the house), the Intermediate Zone (5 to 30 feet), and the Extended Zone (30 to 100 feet).

2. LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE:  To reduce ember ignitions and fire spread, trim branches that overhang the home, porch, and deck and prune branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet (depending on their height) from the ground. Remove plants containing resins, oils, and waxes. Use crushed stone or gravel instead of flammable mulches in the Immediate Zone (0 to 5 feet around the house). Keep your landscape in good condition.

3. ROOFING AND VENTS:  Class A fire-rated roofing products, such as composite shingles, metal, concrete, and clay tiles, offer the best protection. Inspect shingles or roof tiles and replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Box in eaves, but provide ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. Roof and attic vents should be screened to prevent ember entry.

4. DECKS AND PORCHES:  Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches. Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and porches and between deck board joints.

5. SIDING AND WINDOWS:  Embers can collect in small nooks and crannies and ignite combustible materials; radiant heat from flames can crack windows. Use fire-resistant siding such as brick, fibercement, plaster, or stucco, and use dual-pane tempered glass windows.

6. EMERGENCY RESPONDER ACCESS:  Ensure your home and neighborhood have legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access.


  • Develop, discuss, and practice an emergency action plan with everyone in your home. Include details for handling pets, large animals, and livestock.
  • Know two ways out of your neighborhood and have a predesignated meeting place.
  • Always evacuate if you feel it’s unsafe to stay—don’t wait to receive an emergency notification if you feel threatened from the fire.
  • Conduct an annual insurance policy checkup to adjust for local building costs, codes, and new renovations. n Create or update a home inventory to help settle claims faster.



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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