WEATHER »

Investigators Seek Info About Blaze's Origin

Plus Tips for Cleaning Ash Without Endangering Health or Water Supply


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Investigators looking into what started the Jesusita Fire have asked the public for any information about activities that occurred on or near the Jesusita and Tunnel hiking trails on Monday, May 4, and Tuesday, May 5. Anyone with relevant information is urged to call the investigators at (805) 686-5074 or email them at sbctip@sbcfire.com.

Ash Cleanup Tips

The Office of Emergency Services has released tips that may help citizens returning to their homes as they attempt to clean up all the ash that has fallen in the past few days.

Foremost, people are still being asked to conserve water, so in lieu of hosing surfaces down, they should just sweep the ash into landscaped areas or put it in the trash. Do not deposit the ash into gutters or storm drains, as doing so could taint the area water supply.

When sweeping up ash, people should wear protective face masks in order to protect their own health.

Other Tips:

- Wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning solutions or products, and rinse thoroughly. Don't forget inside cabinets, drawers, and closets.

- Launder or dry clean all clothing.

- Wash, dust, or otherwise clean all household items, including knickknacks.

- Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment.

- Upholstery, fabric window treatments, etc. can be spray-treated with deodorizing products available at most supermarkets, but do not use odor-masking sprays.

- Have heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and all ductwork professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash and smoke residue. Change filters when you first return to the premises and at least once a month for the first year.

- If aerial fire retardant or firefighting foam residue is present on the house and/or automobiles, use a mild detergent and brushes to scrub and dilute the dried residue and flush it from the surfaces; rinse with clean water. A follow-up with pressure washing may be beneficial but will not replace scrubbing to remove the residue.

- Ash and soot on the ground and vegetation in the vicinity will continue to generate smoke odors and airborne particles when disturbed by air movement. Until the ash and soot are diluted and absorbed by the environment, indoor mechanical air filtration may help minimize the uncomfortable and potentially health-threatening impact of these pollutants.

Westmont News

Westmont College announced this afternoon that due to the closure of the campus, Westmont's "Mayterm" - summer classes that run through June 12 - will begin on May 12 at a yet-to-be-determined off-campus location. The term was originally scheduled to begin on Monday, May 11.

Westmont also announced that though the entire campus was successfully evacuated on Friday, about 345 students still have items remaining in their campus rooms, including several members of the orchestra that is scheduled to leave for an international trip on Monday.

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