Erskine Fire Public Health Notice

Ash & Debris Removal

 Contact: Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer, Kern County Public Health Services Department (661) 304-7766

June 30, 2016

Bakersfield, CA - Kern County Public Health Services Department and the State of California are offering a hazmat removal and debris cleanup assistance program for all residences affected by the Erskine Fire. The purpose of the program is to assist in getting affected properties clean and safe and ready for rebuild. "We want residents to know that they should not start any clean-up activities" said Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health Services.

Debris and ash from residential fire may be hazardous. Ash and debris from burned buildings and homes likely contains toxic substances due to the presence of synthetic and hazardous materials. Many building materials contain asbestos and older buildings often contain lead and other heavy metals which are toxic. Exposure to hazardous substances may lead to acute and chronic health effects, and may potentially cause long-term public health and environmental impacts. Uncontrolled hazardous materials and debris pose significant threats to public health through inhalation of dust particles and contamination of drinking water supplies. To ensure safety of workers, the public, and the environment, certain protocols should be followed during a wildfire disaster when removing structural ash and debris from a fire.

Should a property owner choose to participate in the County and State debris removal program, the property with destroyed structure(s) from a wildfire will be offered a clean-up and debris removal service conducted by specialized work crews, contracted and managed by county and state waste specialists. This program is being paid for with State of California disaster assistance. Owners must sign up for this program by completing a "Right-of-Entry" form to allow access to the property to complete the removal work.

To provide further details to residents and to discuss individual questions, Kern County Public Health Services and the State of California will be hosting a community meeting at Woodrow Wallace Elementary in Lake Isabella on Wednesday, July 6 at 6:00pm. All residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions.

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