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Ash From Carr Fire May Be Hazardous

The piles of ash left by the destruction of the Carr Fire contain many unseen hazards. Some materials, including heavy metals, asbestos, pesticides, cleaning chemicals and paint, were removed during phase one inspections by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. That agency must inspect all outgoing fire debris, as decreed in a local health emergency declaration made last week by County Health Officer Dr. Andrew Deckert. Phase two of the cleanup requires the permission of homeowners, who can opt out if they choose. The state OES has made a plea to property owners to allow them to scrape the ash and dust away. They’ll tap homeowners insurance policies as much as they can, but costs not covered by insurance will be absorbed by the state and not billed to the fire victims. In the meantime people are warned to avoid contact with ash, and not to use blowers or anything else that’ll make it airborne. Washing it into storm drains should also be avoided as much as possible.