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The original item was published from 9/21/2023 7:46:04 AM to 9/24/2023 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: September 21, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, September 21, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

The next couple days look to be some beautiful fall weather, but then we will see stormier weather beginning over the weekend. September is National Emergency Preparedness month. See below how to take a few minutes to get yourself prepared!

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. As of this week it was 6,369 acres and 25% contained. More information on what trails and campgrounds are open can be found here and here.

Hwy 20 is open. This remains an active fire area and the road is subject to closing again with little notice based on fire behavior, fire mitigation strategies or weather. Travelers along SR 20 are advised they may encounter firefighting personnel and apparatus along the highway and are discouraged from stopping along this stretch of highway. Traffic control is in place for the safety of the traveling public and should be observed.    

Road closure information is posted in the WSDOT real-time travel center and @wsdot_north and @wsdot_east on X/Twitter and updates will be provided as available. Details about recreation in this area including trail, area and camp closures are available on the North Cascades National Park Service complex website and the U.S. Forest Service alerts website

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

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

Whatcom County Fire Marshal has reduced the burn ban allowing for recreational fires again, effective Friday, September 15 at 4 pm. 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 conditions will lock in across the entire region through Friday night with mainly clear skies and maybe just patchy fog sunrise hours, most near water sources. Temps will be cool at night, but daytime temps will trend milder each day--peaking on Friday. Winds will remain generally light with top gusts 15-20 mph Thursday afternoon and under 15 mph Friday afternoon.  

We have a significant change in the weather pattern coming this weekend through a good portion of next week too! The first of SEVERAL weather systems will arrive Saturday afternoon and night with some rain and breezy winds. The first system will weaken a quite a bit, but still wet down the entire area. Sunday shows a few spotty showers (maybe not too bad with some dry time), then a MUCH WETTER system arrives Sunday night into Monday with steadier/heavier rainfall. Periods of rain may continue Tue-Wed with brief dry windows at times. This will officially put a major dent in all the ongoing wildfires in the Cascades. 

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. Wind waves 2 feet or less. Moving into the evening, winds will come from the northwest up to 10 knots in the evening becoming light. Wind waves 1 foot or less. Tomorrow light winds becoming south up to 10 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 foot. 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 planned activities for CERT at this time.

Emergency Preparedness

Visit our newly revamped website at

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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