If your home was impacted by the Thomas fire, here are
some health precautions to take after you return home and before you begin the clean-
We do not advise ash clean-up while ash is still falling and the situation is
unpredictable. Wait until conditions improve.
Avoid skin contact with ash. Ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain
metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that may be considered toxic if
breathed in or touched with wet skin. If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off
immediately. Some wet ash can cause chemical burns.
Inhaled ash may be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs. In order to avoid possible
health problems, the following steps are recommended.
• Avoid doing activities that stir up ash. Do not allow children to play in ash or be in
an area where ash-covered materials are being disturbed. Wash ash off toys
before children play with them.
• Clean ash off pets.
• Wear a tight fitting N95 respirator mask, gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long
pants when cleaning up ash.
• Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Avoid sweeping it up dry. Use
water and wet cloth or mop to clean items and surfaces.
• Under any circumstances, DO NOT USE LEAF BLOWERS!
If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke or soot, consult your
doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty
breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches and nausea or
unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.