On December 11, 2017, the City announced that leaf blowers have been temporarily prohibited due to poor air quality and the risk of spreading more ash, smoke and particulates into the air. Public health officials have continued to caution against the use of leaf blowers to clean up ash, which causes ash to become airborne and increases the risk of ash being inhaled by residents and animals. The City is extending the ban, which will now be in effect indefinitely.
Ventura County Public Health officials give the following advice for cleaning up ash:
- If possible, try to avoid direct contact with ash. If you get ash on your skin, in your eyes, or in your mouth, wash it off as soon as you can, with clean or sterile water.
- Covering clothing is recommended, when in proximity to ash. Wear gloves, long sleeved shirts, and long pants to avoid skin contact, whenever possible. Goggles are recommended. Contact with wet ash may cause chemical burns or irritation on skin. Change your shoes and clothing prior to leaving the decontamination site to avoid tracking ash into your car, home, etc.
- When exposure to dust or ash cannot be avoided, use a well fitted NIOSH certified air purifying respirator mask, which can be purchased from most hardware stores. A mask rated N95 is much more effective than unrated dust or surgical masks in blocking ash particles.
- Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post fire cleanup.
Residents are encouraged to contact the City at (805) 646-5581 if they observe leaf blower use during this period, or contact the Police Department at (805) 646-1414.