LUMMI ISLAND, Wash. — The annual drydock for the Whatcom Chief this year is scheduled to be May 6th through May 21st.
Each year the Whatcom Chief vehicle ferry spends 2 to 3 weeks in dry dock to undergo annual maintenance and during that time is replaced by a passenger-only ferry. In recent years, this has been scheduled during the latter half of September.
Due to this temporary inability to get additional firefighting apparatus and equipment to the island in the event of a fire, Whatcom County Fire District 11, which serves Lummi Island, has announced outdoor burning restrictions typically associated with HIGH fire danger situations. These are being implemented during the entire drydock period.
Fire Chief Michael Lish told Whatcom News large outdoor burn piles are not going to be allowed during this time and any previously issued written permits are postponed. Any outdoor burning, except for recreational campfires, will require a general permit (available at the Islander Store or online). These restrictions go into effect today, Thursday, May 5th, at 8pm.
Lish said previous drydocks have typically occurred in the late summer when burn bans were already in place. But with this year’s occurring in the spring, this additional step was needed.
The Whatcom County Ferry Division’s dry dock webpage has many details and will be updated when needed.