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County issuing environmental alert after Mecca fire

The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health is recommending a pair of Mecca schools and nearby residents to take precaution after Thursday’s wildfire.

The fire burned through grape stakes at the intersection of Avenue 64 and Dale Kiler Road.

Officials said mild winds caused smoke and ash to rise straight up rather than across the Valley. The burned stakes may contain chemicals in the ash, such as arsenic.

Environmental Health officials have taken wipe samples of surfaces. Results of the samples won’t be available until next week.

The two schools affected are Mecca Elementary and Saul Martinez Elementary.

Officials are recommending the schools and nearby residents clean outdoor tables, benches, playground equipment and pet dishes. This is out of abundance of caution stemming from potential ash fallout.

Officials recommend removing any ash by washing with soap and water, then rinsing with plain water.

Residents can call the Department of Environmental Health’s Indio Office Hazardous Material Branch at (760) 863-8976. Their operating hours is 7:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Their after hours number is (951) 782-2968.

KESQ News Team

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