How to Clean Up Ash Outside After the Thomas Fire
Well today we are up to the Thomas Fire being 25% contained so progress is being made but the winds are supposed to return so there is concern for the fire growing again. In the meanwhile, the ash and soot keeps falling all over our homes. There is no point in trying to do a detailed cleaning of the exterior of your home at this time but if you need to clear a path to your front door so people stop making a mess whenever they walk inside, there are safe ways to proceed.
First, put on your N-95 face mask. Ideally, you would try to mist the area that you are going to work in so that the water will help control any dust. You only want to use a small amount of water and you want to make sure that none of the runoff water will go into any nearby storm drains. Runoff water filled with ash can clog storm drains and pollute waterways. If you can sweep the debris into your yard or garden, that will usually be fine. Ash is typically acidic and soil in dry climates like Santa Barbara is generally alkaline so adding the ash actually helps to balance out the pH a little bit. If the amount of ash is small, you can also use a HEPA vacuum to pick it up or lastly, you can scoop it up and toss it in a plastic bag to be disposed of in your trash.
We are urging people to not use blowers that will blow this ash into the air. When the fires are out, or close to it, you can reach out to SERVPRO of Santa Barbara for any cleaning of the interior or exterior of your home that may be a little bit more than you want to take on. We service Carpinteria, Summerland, Ojai, Montecito Santa Barbara and all of the areas affected by the smoke. We can be reached 24 hours a day at 805-963-0606.