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The original item was published from 8/29/2023 4:52:00 PM to 9/1/2023 12:00:03 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: August 29, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Tuesday, August 29, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

Looks like a showery week with cooler temperatures. 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 again at mileposts 120-171 due to increased fire behavior on the Blue Lake Fire. 

All recreation remains CLOSED in this area. 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

Blue Canyon Wildland Fire-Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation in place. Blue Canyon Rd is closed to non-fire or non-resident traffic. Water dipping aircraft are being used on the fire, Lake Whatcom is closed to boat traffic. No flying drones in the area, this is dangerous for aircraft. DNR currently has aircraft and ground crews working on the fire.

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

Whatcom County Fire Marshal has initiated a Stage 2 Burn Ban effective 1600 Wednesday, August 16. 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

Wet and soggy today through Wednesday.

Frequent heavy rain showers and embedded thunderstorms are expected to develop around 3-5a and fill in through the early morning hours. This line of heavy rain/storms pushes east and into the Cascades after 9/10a. The Cascades and foothills look to see heavy rain/thunderstorms to be a concern until closer to noon. Expecting scattered rain showers to continue in the wake of the main band of rain, with showers continuing at times through the afternoon.

Showers generally decrease after 8/9p, but will continue at times through the night keeping us rather damp. Spotty showers continue Wednesday morning, generally decreasing after 11a/12p. Most routes dry out by mid to late afternoon, however the Cascades will likely hold onto showers until past sunset. Of note, we will likely see some sun through the late afternoon as temps remain a bit below average.

Looking briefly dry through the late evening hours, as our next cold front looks to arrive very early Thursday morning. Expecting ample rainfall through the morning hours, before breaking to showers by early afternoon. Temps look to remain well below average. Looking a bit showery Thursday night, before we largely dry out Friday morning. Potentially looking drier and warmer Friday and Saturday, before another system arrives late Saturday night. Stay tuned.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today the wind will come from the south at 5-15 knots. Wind waves 2 feet or less. showers in the morning. Isolated thunderstorms. Showers likely in the afternoon. Moving into the evening, winds will come from the south at 10-20 knots. Wind waves 1-3 feet. Chance of rain in the evening, then showers likely after midnight. Tomorrow winds come from the southwest at 10-20 knots becoming south at 5-15 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1-3 feet. A chance of rain. 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

CERT will be at Sudden Valley's 50th Anniversary tomorrow, Saturday, from 11am-6 pm. Come visit with Doug.

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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