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The original item was published from 8/16/2023 7:47:12 AM to 8/19/2023 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: August 16, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Wednesday, August 16, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

The weather will be hot this week, with some cooling near the weekend. Be safe around water.

Active Incidents

The Sourdough Fire north of Diablo Lake started on Saturday, July 29. It is currently burning in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area within the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, in very steep terrain. Air quality in the area is very bad in places, see here for local info. If you choose to travel in the area, please do not stop on the highway to take pictures or look at the fire. Do not fly drones in the area, as this will ground the helicopter and air tankers working on the fire. More information can be found here.

Hwy 20 is closed as of 1900 Thursday, August 10 indefinitely due to falling rocks and debris on the road. There may be large amounts of smoke from the fire, particularly in the afternoons as fire activity increases due to weather changes. Please do not call Dispatch to report it, fire crews are working on the fire. No flying of drones in the area due to aircraft working on the fire.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

An excessive heat warning has been issued for eastern Whatcom County through 8/16 at 2300, with a heat advisory for western Whatcom County.  See here for hot weather safety.                           

A red flag warning has been continued for eastern Whatcom County for Wednesday, 8/16 at 2200. More info here.

July 24 a drought emergency was declared by WA State Dept of Ecology for 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

Wednesday will be dry and clear, with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 80s for most areas.  Winds will remain generally light.  Wednesday night will be dry and clear as well, with patchy fog possible late night  Winds will become very light.  Any fog that does develop will clear out Thursday morning, with mostly clear skies again afterward.  Winds remain generally light.

Dry conditions continue through the rest of the workweek, and likely through the weekend as well.  A couple showers may be possible on Sunday, but more likely than not they will stay over the Cascades.  Monday should then be dry as well.  Temperatures will cool down quite a bit from Friday onward, with highs dipping into the 70s or low 80s through Monday.  Winds remain generally light.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today the wind will come from the northwest at 5-15 knots, becoming 10 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 feet or less. Moving into the evening, winds will come from the southwest up to 10 knots. Wind waves 1 foot or less. Tomorrow winds come from the  west up to 10 knots. Wind waves 1 foot 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

Visit the Whatcom County Health Department's Wildfire Smoke for up-to-date information and air quality.

Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

CERT Activities

No activities currently scheduled for CERT.

Summer Water Safety Tips

Washington waters are often cold enough to cause muscles to not work. Even when the outside temperatures are high, water temperatures can be cold enough to overwhelm even the strongest swimmer.

If you plan to be in or near water this summer, follow these recommendations:

Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills — To enjoy the water safely, learn swim strokes, water safety, survival skills, and becoming comfortable in the water.

Wear a life jacket — Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating, tubing, rafting, swimming or other activities in or on lakes, rivers, salt water, or pools without a lifeguard. Life jacket information for children and teens.

Swim where there is a lifeguard — Swim in areas with lifeguards when possible. Wear a life jacket while swimming in unguarded waters or until the guards start their service.

Supervise children in or near water — Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Stay within touching distance of young children at all times.

Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities — Never use alcohol or other impairing drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children around the water. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. Exposure to sun and heat worsen these effects.

Know what to do in an emergency — Learn first aid and CPR. Seconds count—the more quickly lifesaving CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. Bring a cell phone or know where to find the nearest phone. Dial 911 in an emergency. Learn safe ways to rescue others without putting yourself in danger (reach for them, throw something to them, don’t go into the water after them). If you are in trouble: flip, float, relax (like a starfish).

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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