South Pasadena, CA, December 9th, 2019
As of December 9, 2019 the Cave fire is the only wildfire in California still burning. The fire is 90 percent contained but has already spread to about 3,126 acres. California’s fire season has been filled with mass evacuations and blackouts, totaling to 46,706 wildfires from January 1 to November 22, 2019 with a rough total of 4.6 million acres burned.
As of late October, there were already over 200,000 evacuations and the declaration of a state of emergency. The Kincade fire that ignited on October 23rd had burned over 76,000 acres, destroying more than 189 buildings and damaging 39 more. Around 90,000 buildings across the surrounding evacuation zone were threatened by the Kincade fire. The greatest hazard comes from breathing in fine particles, which can reduce lung function, worsen asthma and other existing heart and lung conditions. This can lead to coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Most of the destructive California wildfires were driven by strong winds and quickly spread due to warm temperatures and dry vegetation. The historic fires that have torched hundreds of thousands of acres across California have also resulted in the destruction of more than 1,000 structures and caused damage to thousands more. The same fine particles found in wildfire smoke that Cal/OSHA warns workers about breathing not only cause occupational health concerns, these particles easily infiltrate properties many miles away from the flames leaving behind residues and odors.
“Residues and odors in a home or building can have a damaging effect on both the properties and the well-being of any building occupants exposed to polluted indoor air,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Fortunately, smoke residues and odors caused by wildfires are often covered by property insurance policies so they can be properly remediated. However, it is often left to the property owner to provide proof of damages to settle smoke residue insurance claims. At LA Testing, we specialize in smoke residue, odor testing and other indoor air quality laboratory services. We offer all of the sampling supplies necessary to collect samples and even offer easy-to-use test kits for smoke residues. For outdoor workers exposed to wildfire smoke and ash, and for those tasked with fire damage cleanup activities, LA Testing offers a complete line of respirators and other personal protective equipment.”
LA Testing has produced an educational video about smoke damage from wildfires that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/tWlOKFK3bLs.
To learn more about testing for smoke and soot residues, odors or other indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental issues, please visit www.SmokeDamageTestingLab.com or www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. To access the Fire & Smoke Damage Test Kit, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.