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The original item was published from 9/22/2023 7:32:19 AM to 9/26/2023 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: September 22, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Friday, September 22, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

One more day of beautiful fall weather, but then we will see stormier, cooler weather beginning Saturday. 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

Expect one more really nice day (Friday) with mostly sunny skies and mild/warm afternoon temperatures--enjoy it because serious changes are coming! High clouds increase Friday night, then a few showers arrive Saturday along with breezy and much cooler temperatures. Temps likely drop 15 degrees between Friday to Saturday as we strongly transition to autumn weather--just as the calendar says as well. Scattered showers decrease Sat night, then looks dry most hours Sunday (though a few spotty PM showers likely). Rain threats should increase Sunday night with occasional showers continuing through Monday.   

Expect a wet and very unsettled period of weather Monday through Wednesday of next week. Scattered showers are expected Thursday and Friday of next week with more dry windows available, but temps remain below average all week. Weather may trend drier and milder again as we move into October... 

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today the light wind will come from the south up to 10 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 foot. Moving into the evening, winds will come from the south up to 10 knots. Wind waves 1 foot. Tomorrow winds come from the southeast 5-15 knots becoming 10-20 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 1-3 feet. a chance of rain in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon. 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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