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Smoke and Ash – Natrona County Health Department Advises Caution

Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Officials at the Natrona County Health Department say they’ve had reports of ash from the Sheep Herder Hill fire dropping as far away as Douglas. Audrey Grey is special operations manager at the health department and she says they’re encouraging folks to take precautions if they find themselves cleaning up accumulated ash.

“We just want to make sure that you don’t have your kids playing in it and that you do respiratory protection if you’re actually going to need to clean it up, because sometimes it can be very fine and it can be an irritant to the lungs.”

Grey also recommends if you have an air conditioner with an excessive buildup of fire ash in the filter, to clean it or change it before running the unit.  She says if you clean the filter use water or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. A regular filtered vacuum will spread the fine ash into the air. She recommends wearing a mask while cleaning and to use one rated to at least N95

Adults and children who suffer from respiratory illnesses are recommended to avoid extended time doing outdoor activities if heavy smoke builds in the city.

“Small children we do worry about even if they don’t have a documented lung issue. That they go ahead and stay inside, because children breath at a much higher rate than adults do and so it has a tendency to effect them a lot more.”

At Wyoming Medical Center Emergency Room officials there say they’ve been preparing should there be an influx of folks with respiratory problems. Senior Clinical Manager of Emergency, Cristy Dicklich-Cobb, says they’ve coordinated with other facilities in town.

“Mountain View, Elk Horn Regional Hospital, and we reached out to Poplar Living Center and Life Care, just to look at what their emergency plan is and then what their patient needs were. The goal is to make sure we’re working together to keep patients safe.”

 

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