Take precautions when cleaning up after fire | NevadaAppeal.com

Take precautions when cleaning up after fire

As volunteers don their work gloves to help victims of the Waterfall fire rebuild their homes and their lives, the Carson City Health Department has some tips for safe cleanup of fire debris and ash.

A large amount of ash has been deposited on indoor and outdoor surfaces in areas near the fire.

The ash from forest fires is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in a fireplace.

However, any ash will contain small amounts of cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, fire ash may be irritating to the skin, especially to those with sensitive skin.

If the ash is breathed, it can be irritating to the nose and throat and may cause coughing. Exposure to ash in air might trigger asthmatic attacks in people who already have asthma.

Ash and debris inside burned structures may contain more toxic substances than forest fire ash because of the many synthetic and other materials present in buildings. Older buildings in particular may contain asbestos and lead. A more cautious approach should be taken in the removal of ash and other debris from inside burned structures.

Contact the Carson City Health Department at 887-2190 with questions. For questions this weekend call Daren Winkleman at 720-9272.