‘Get ready to leave’ evacuations issued for fire near southeast Lake Whatcom

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — A wildfire that started in Whatcom County’s Blue Canyon Monday night has prompted Level 2 evacuations that went into effect Wednesday.

The fire in the southeast Lake Whatcom area may have been started by a lightning strike.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources, which is in charge of fighting the fire, issued a Level 2, or “get ready to leave” evacuation notice, only for those who live on Blue Canyon Road. The road is closed at South Bay Drive and Park Road.

Homeowners are told to pack up and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐁𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐝. 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐎𝐍𝐋𝐘. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has issued the...

Posted by Whatcom County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, DNR said water would be scooped from Lake Whatcom to fight the fire, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. Boat launches on Lake Whatcom have been closed and no boat traffic is allowed on the lake.

Fog is currently grounding firefighting planes and helicopters working to knock down the fire.

The Bellingham Parks Department also closed its boat launches and no drones are allowed in the area where the scoop planes are operating.

The DNR said that the fire is now burning about 30 acres on the steep slopes above Blue Canyon Road.

If a Level 3 evacuation notice is issued, it means residents should leave immediately.

We spoke with one woman who now lives on Maui and just arrived in Whatcom County to visit family. She worries her family’s home could face a similar fate she witnessed from the devastating Hawaii wildfires.

Officials told us the steep, forested terrain, only adds to the difficulty of this fire-fight. As for the smoke, it’s sticking around until the fall rains come.