California Wildfires Spur Asbestos Concerns
Six major wildfires are torching Southern California, covering an area larger than New York City and Boston combined. The Thomas Fire — the largest of the six and the fifth-largest blaze in modern California history — covers 238,500 acres. The other fires have destroyed nearly 260,000 acres, officials said. At least 18,000 homes and other structures are threatened by the fires and more than 1,000 structures have been wiped out, according to the fire protection agency Cal Fire. Cal Fire officials said the Thomas Fire was 30 percent contained as of late Wednesday. Some residents have been allowed back in their homes following mandatory evacuations, but thousands of other families remain displaced. Aside from the dangers of the blaze itself, Cal Fire and other government agencies are warning Californians about the dangers of asbestos and other toxins released by the fire. The air quality conditions remain poor in much of Southern California. The smoke from the fires alone has forced many to evacuate their homes, including Dr. Charles Conway, a mesothelioma specialist and director of surgical oncology at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center in Santa Barbara. “The smoke is terrible. My family and I wear masks,” Conway told Asbestos.com. “The visibility is also a big danger. We had to evacuate because of air quality. Others have to relocate in the hope of being safe, while still trying to be logistically able to get to work. People are trying to carry on as norma...
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