MEDFORD, Ore. — As evacuation levels start to go down across the Rogue Valley, many people are returning home while others return to ash and rubble.
If your home burned down in a fire, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says to not sift through any debris or ash.
It says both can contain asbestos and other toxic chemicals, which can cause respiratory illness and cancer.
“They could be disturbing those fibers, putting them into the air, and inhaling them into their lungs,” said Laura Gleim, Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality.
You should also be careful of other hazards on the property like down power lines and gas leaks.
If your property is still standing, you should throw away any food exposed to heat, smoke, and soot.
Also, check for the smell of gas and turn off your gas and power until you’ve inspected your home.
DEQ says it’s asked for federal help to clean up burned properties across Oregon and will be providing more details on the plan soon.