September 22nd, 2015| In recent weeks, wildfires have ravaged Northern California, destroying homes, businesses, and land along the way. As many residents make their way back to the area after being evacuated, our California environmental injury lawyers would like to warn you of certain risks you may be facing. Inhalation of smoke is one of the greatest potential hazards in wildfire areas. Breathing in smoke that can be thick in the air can cause lung irritation and other respiratory problems. Even if there’s no smoke, what you’re breathing could be extremely harmful to your health. According to an article from NBC Bay Area News, the California Department of Health is warning residents who were evacuated from wildfire areas and are now returning to be aware of the risks breathing in ashes could have to your health. Officials say the ashes of burned structures, buildings, and products could contain harmful chemicals that could include asbestos—a substance often used in construction that can lead to the development of a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma if inhaled. These risks have led officials to advise the public to wash ash from children, pets, toys, and homegrown foods as soon as possible. Officials are also advising against the use of leaf blowers or vacuums to remove ash, as these methods can agitate ash particles into the air where they can then be inhaled. We hope this information helps to keep you and your loved ones safe from the dangers wildfire ash and smoke can pose.