WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — This past summer saw the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office (WCFMO) and Whatcom County Fire Districts implement a Stage 2 burn ban in early July. Extended periods without rain plus unseasonably warm weather resulted in low fuel moisture levels necessitating the bans. Recreational campfires and beach fires are not permitted under Stage 2 burn bans in addition to other Stage 1 restrictions.
Last week, Whatcom County Fire District 17 lifted their Stage 2 burn ban and today, September 3rd, at 5pm, unincorporated areas of Whatcom County will do the same according to the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s office.
Lummi Island Fire Department continues to maintain a Stage 2 burn ban within their jurisdiction. Their website indicates current fire danger is “Extreme.”
As a result of WCFMO’s announcement, a Stage 1 burn ban will remain in place across all unincorporated areas of Whatcom County. Under a Stage 1 burn ban, yard debris, land clearing and commercial burning is not permitted while approved recreational campfires and beach fires are.
Recreational fire requirements include the following.
- Size is 3-feet by 3-feet or less
- Burning seasoned firewood or charcoal only
- Enclosure is 16-inches high and made of steel, masonry or rockery
- Located 25 feet from structures and combustible material
- Minimum of 15-feet overhead clearance
- Connected garden hose or 2 5-gallon buckets of water are at the fire location
- Allowed after dark if attended until fire is out cold
- Winds remain below 7mph
Permanent Stage 1 burn bans remain in effect in the Cherry Point area and in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay and Kendall along with their designated urban growth areas.
Violations of burn restrictions can result in a minimum $250.00 fine. In addition, anyone with an illegal fire that escapes or needs to be extinguished by the fire department may face criminal charges and be held financially responsible for fire suppression costs according to WCFMO.