Your Journey Begins!

Web Search

Wildfires leave caustic ash

Last month's Corral fire in Malibu burned 49 homes.

Breaking Earth News

California, USA
Ash from wildfires in Southern California's residential neighborhoods poses a serious threat to people and ecosystems because it is extremely caustic and contains high levels of arsenic, lead and other toxic metals, according to a study by federal geologists released Tuesday.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists warned that rainstorms, which are forecast for the region beginning Friday, are likely to wash the dangerous substances into waterways, polluting streams and threatening wildlife.

Some ash collected in residential areas after the October fires registered a pH of 12.7, a level more caustic than ammonia and nearly as caustic as lye.

Metals, particularly arsenic, were found in such high concentrations in the ash that they would violate federal standards for cleaning up hazardous waste sites. Metals could have come from treated wood in decks, old lead-based paint, plumbing solder and other household substances.

Multi-Media Information

Multi-Media Information

Video Newsflash

Website Disclaimer