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Warm Whidbey weather means fun and burn ban

Laura Utter and Sierra Roe paddle in an inflatable boat while their English springer spaniel, Cooper, enjoys a swim in Cranberry Lake.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Laura Utter and Sierra Roe paddle in an inflatable boat while their English springer spaniel, Cooper, enjoys a swim in Cranberry Lake.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Finally, summer has come to Whidbey Island.

After one of the wettest Junes on record, the sun is shining, the temperature is rising and people are enjoying the parks on Whidbey.

The mercury spiked to around 80 degrees Wednesday, and 82 on Thursday in Oak Harbor, and similar temperatures are expected throughout the week. For many, the warm weather is a welcome change from the damp conditions that have been soaking Whidbey Island in recent weeks.

Folks visiting Deception Pass State Park seemed to welcome the weather change. The swimming area at Cranberry Lake was overflowing with people as others hiked along the trails, fished or enjoyed a picnic.

One thing is for sure, Deception Pass State Park still draws visitors worldwide to Whidbey Island. Andre Schendel, visiting from Bremen, Germany, took time to teach his daughter, Vera, how to swim. Seattle resident Laura Utter and Sierra Roe were paddling in an inflatable boat while their English springer spaniel, Cooper, enjoyed a swim.

Just up the road at the Deception Pass Bridge, Red Deer, Alberta, resident Danny Semenoff, stopped by the visitor’s center to get information. He toured the San Juan Islands on his bicycle and was riding down the island in hopes of reaching Port Townsend.

While the warm, sunny conditions meant enjoyment to many, emergency officials reached differently to the dryer weather conditions.

Sheriff Mark Brown, who is also the county’s fire marshal, said he met with the chiefs of Island County fire districts Wednesday to discuss when to implement a burn ban. Typically, officials institute a burn ban in early July, but recent conditions delayed that decision.

“We had such a wet month of June, we decided to postpone that,” Brown said.

Now, it looks like the county’s burn ban, which bans all burning except recreational cooking fires, will go into effect Thursday, July 15.

Brown said Island County coordinates burn bans with neighboring counties because of the similar climate and also to reduce confusion for residents.

The ban prohibits the burning of natural debris, even if someone has a burn permit. However, recreational cooking fires and outdoor barbecues are permitted.

According to the National Weather Service, Saturday looks to be sunny with a high of 71 while Sunday’s high is 68 with partly sunny skies. Outside of Oak Harbor, temperatures are usually higher.

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