Wildfire ash that lands on orchards can lead to toxic dust that can be kicked up into the air and inhaled by workers during routine agricultural activities, according to a new study from the UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety.
The study is based on ash samples taken from orchards near the 2017 Thomas Fire in Southern California.
The researchers recommend policymakers focus on protecting farmworkers in areas recovering from wildfires. They note that CDFA or local ag commissioners may be able to analyze ash samples for heavy metals. Farmers dealing with this should wet the ash and then bury it under a layer of soil to decrease exposure.