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JACKSON COUNTY, OREGON
10 S OAKDALE AVE
MEDFORD, OR 97501
October 31, 2020
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Wildfire & Smoke Prevention

Beware hazards at burn sites
Mark Decker, CIO

Beware hazards at burn sites

Ash and debris are hazardous, residents advised to avoid or use extreme caution

Ash and debris from burned structures can be hazardous, particularly when particles are inhaled.  Fire ash may contain toxic chemicals like asbestos, mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium.  Other hazards like sharp objects and downed power lines are also present.

Government agencies are still assessing hazards and will be assisting with safe removal of ash, debris and hazardous substances from wildfire impacted areas.  DEQ recommends that you do not disturb ash or debris on your property until after it has been assessed by hazardous materials response professionals.

Residents are advised to stay away from the sites of burned structures entirely.  If you must visit a burn site, use extreme caution and follow this guidance:

  • Keep kids away.  Burn sites are not safe.
  • Beware of downed power lines or other electrical sources
  • Beware unstable walking surfaces and sharp objects buried in the ash. Wear sturdy boots.
  • Disturb ash as little as possible.  Ash must be wetted to control dust before sweeping.  When cleaning with water, don't allow ash to run into stormwater drains or creeks. 
  • Wear a properly fitted N95 or KN95 respirator.  Cloth face coverings, paper masks or bandanas are not effective at filtering out fine ash, dust or asbestos.  Free N95 masks are available from Red Cross at the Expo.
  • Wear heavy duty work gloves and eye goggles. If possible, wear disposable coveralls and dispose of them after use.  Free debris sifting kits are available from the Red Cross at the Expo.
  • Wash any recovered personal items to remove potentially toxic dust.
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