The Whatcom County Fire Marshal's Office announced in a press release Wednesday that it will be enacting restrictions on open burns in unincorporated portions of the county starting Friday, July 13.
According to the release, all land clearing and yard debris burning must be discontinued beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, and all issued burn permits are suspended.
Conditions are relatively dry, and expected to continue to remain so. As of Tuesday, the National Weather Service had recorded 16.9 inches of precipitation at Bellingham International Airport in 2018 — 1.5 inches behind normal for the date, though slightly ahead of the 16.74 inches that were recorded in 2017. The extended forecast for Bellingham predicts temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s through Tuesday with mostly clear skies.
Recreational fires will still be allowed with the landowner's permission, under the burn restrictions, but must:
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▪ Contain seasoned firewood or charcoal.
▪ Be in an enclosure no larger than three feet on each side and at least 15 inches high made of cement blocks, stones or steel.
▪ Be at least 25 feet from structures, timber or combustible materials.
▪ Have a charged garden hose or two five-gallon buckets full of water next to them along with a shovel or rake on site to stir extinguished fires.
▪ Attended until the fire is out cold.
▪ Not be started when winds exceed 7 mph.
Beach fires (where allowed) must be dug into an eight-inch deep pit and surrounded by four inches of rocks, the release said.
Violations of the burn restrictions can result in a minimum $250 fine, and if a fire escapes or needs to be extinguished by a fire department, the fire starter may be held financially responsible for costs and criminally charged.
Residents within Whatcom County Fire Districts Nos. 5 (Point Roberts), 11 (Lummi Island) and 17 (Sandy Point) or on land that is protected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources must check with those agencies for outdoor burning restrictions and to obtain outdoor burning permits, according to the release.
According to a press release from Whatcom County Fire District No. 11, a burn ban is in effect for Lummi Island. Recreational fires no larger than two feet in diameter in an approved enclosure will be allowed.
For more information, contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 360-778-5900 or visit whatcomcounty.us/381/Fire-Marshal.
Recreation burning requirements within in the City of Bellingham are available at cob.org.