Whatcom County burn ban takes effect Tuesday, July 26

A countywide burn ban begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, because of increasingly warm weather and dry conditions throughout Western Washington, the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office announced Monday, July 25.

Recreational fires will be allowed in campgrounds and on private property with the owner’s permission, said Mitch Nolze, county fire inspector. Recreational fires are limited to seasoned firewood or charcoal, cannot exceed three feet by three feet in area, and must be within an approved enclosure.

Although the ban affects only unincorporated areas in Whatcom County, Nolze said that all incorporated cities in the county have permanent burn bans, with only recreational fires allowed.

In Sudden Valley, a private community on the southwest shore of Lake Whatcom, the county restrictions will be in effect and permits will be required for beach fires, said Norm Smith, Sudden Valley’s head of security and compliance.

On Lummi Island, a burn ban has been in effect since July 22 and recreational fires are limited to two feet in diameter. Fire conditions are at a high level on the island in Bellingham Bay, according to a statement from Lummi Island Fire Department.

Several small brush fires have been reported in recent weeks, including one Monday outside Blaine and another near Lynden. Wildfires in early May scorched several acres of Sumas Mountain near the Canadian border and Lookout Mountain above Lake Samish.

Temperatures in the low 80s are predicted later this week, with no rain forecast through at least Sunday, July 31.

Burn ban violations carry a $250 fine, Nolze said. Additional fines and criminal penalties are possible if an illegal fire burns out of control or requires a fire department response.

For information, call 360-778-5903, 360-778-5900 or go online to whatcomcounty.us/381/Fire-Marshal.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @bhamMitty