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The original item was published from 7/5/2023 9:12:00 PM to 7/6/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: July 3, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Wednesday, July 5, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

It is looking like our weather will be warm this week. As it warms up and dries out, think about fire safety. We are seeing wildfire smoke in the area for another day.

Active Incidents

Shortly after 1900 a wildland fire was called to the 3700 block of Blue Canyon Rd. Whatcom County Fire District #18 responded, with WCFD #16 and South Whatcom Fire Authority, Skagit Alger Fire and WA State DNR providing mutual aid. No homes or people are threatened and no evacuations are taking place. A helicopter is being used and doing bucket drops in Lake Whatcom (people are requested to stay away from the helicopter). Power has been shut off to Blue Canyon Rd due to a power pole on fire. The fire is approximately 1/2 acre in trees.  As of 2100 DNR had taken over command of the fire.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

Currently there are no ongoing advisories, watches or warnings in Whatcom County. 

Whatcom County Fire Marshal has initiated a Stage 1 Burn Ban effective 0800 Friday, June 9. See here for more information.

A subject of note here is the Mt Baker Hwy closure which is affecting a large area of the county. Please visit the Whatcom County Public Works Road Closures and Restrictions page for more information.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Dry weather continues through Thursday with no concerns expected.  Temperatures will continue to be pretty warm through Thursday.  Winds generally remain light, but there will be some breezes during the daytime hours.

Dry weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend and the beginning of next week.  Temperatures will be a bit cooler on Friday, during the weekend, and the beginning of next week.  However, temperatures will still remain well above average through the beginning of next week.

Rivers and Streams

The Nooksack River and stream levels in Whatcom County are normal for this time of year.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today the wind will come from the northwest at 10-20 knots becoming 5-15 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1-3 feet.  Moving into the evening, winds will swing around to the southwest at 5-15 knots becoming southeast after midnight. Wind waves 2 feet or less. Tomorrow winds come from the west at 10 knots becoming southwest at 5-15 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves will be 2 feet or less. For a look at real-time coastal weather and tides you can link here to the Cherry Point NOAA Tide Station.

Air Quality

There is an increase in wildfire smoke in Whatcom County with a decrease in air quality. Visit the Whatcom County Health Department's Wildfire Smoke for up-to-date information and air quality.

Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

Wildland Fire Tips 

Learn the Fire Evacuation Levels

Level 1: Ready

 A level one threat means it is time to prepare to evacuate. Review your emergency plan and evacuation routes, including plans for pets or livestock. Ensure your Go-Kit is packed and ready. Follow local news on TV, radio or social media. 

Level 2: Get Set

A level two threat means the emergency is less predicable and you need to be ready to leave at any moment. If you have young children or vulnerable dependents you should leave now so you have time to evacuate safely. Keep monitoring the news for updates. 

Level 3: Go

A level 3 alert means there is immediate, extreme danger in your area. Evacuate immediately.

Wildfire is a cause of concern for us all in the Evergreen State. While wildfire has historically played a crucial role in Washington's forest ecology, climate change and other factors have led to longer, more destructive fire seasons, which threaten communities throughout the state's diverse landscape. But there are a number of steps landowners can take to protect their property -- and their neighbors'.

Every year across our nation, some homes survive - while many others do not - after a major wildfire. Those that survive almost always do so because their owners had prepared for the eventuality of fire, which is an inescapable force of nature in fire-prone wildland areas. 

DNR's Wildfire Ready Neighbors program and Community Resilience team are here to help you make your property more resistant to the growing danger of wildfire statewide. Go to WildfireReady.com to sign up for a free action plan and home wildfire assessment.

 

You may also visit the National Fire Protection Association’s Preparing Homes for Wildfire website for additional information.

Tips For Home Landscaping In Dry Conditions

  • Work in the mornings or late evenings to avoid the hottest parts of the day, and postpone your work when the weather calls for low humidity or high wind
  • Keep a water hose or bucket or fire extinguisher on hand
  • Use a nylon or plastic weed whacker line instead of metal
  • Be careful not to set a hot tool down on dry grass or leaves
  • Allow power engines to cool before refueling, and make sure the hot exhaust is kept away from dry grasses, weeds, and shrubs - only use such equipment that’s in good repair and has spark arresters installed. when applicable
  • Stay home for an hour after finishing your work - this way you’ll be around to notice if anything begins to smolder and smoke
  • If conditions are right for outdoor burning, keep your debris piles small and have a hose ready should your fire escape

 Campfire Safety

If your fire escapes, you will be responsible for paying for fire suppression personnel and equipment, as required by state law. 

  • Campfires are allowed only when a campfire burn restriction is not in place 
  • Ensure there is a shovel and buckets of water close by
  • Never walk away from a smoldering campfire.
  • Put the fire out cold before leaving - if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave

 Additional Prevention Tips

  • Be sure recreation vehicles have operating spark arrestors
  • Do not park vehicles in dry, grassy areas as residual heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass
  • Know the current wildfire risk in your county, destination, or area you may be working in 
  • Learn more from our friend Smokey Bear

The Emergency Management Daily Briefing is produced Monday - Friday unless an update is required for an incident or event over a weekend or during holidays.

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