Woosley Fire: Sampling In The Wake Of Disaster
Above Photo: From Fairewinds.org
During 2018, California was racked by the most devastating series of deadly forest fires in its history. While each of these events led to a tragic loss of lives, wildlife, homes, and entire communities, the Woolsey Fire is of particular interest and concern to Fairewinds Energy Education. The Woolsey fire burned nearly one hundred thousand acres across Los Angeles and Ventura counties during the month of November. While the fire is now out, people all over California have contacted us to ask questions and express concerns about the possible migration of radioactivity from the Woolsey Fire.
Already facing significant losses, the communities impacted by the Woolsey Fire are now worried about airborne radioactivity because the Woolsey Fire burned the area around and adjacent to the Santa Susana Field Lab, an old nuclear test facility that is now a superfund site. Vegetation in close proximity to superfund sites tend to have high levels of toxic and possibly radioactive materials stored within them due to nutrient uptake through the roots. As the vegetation surrounding the Santa Susana Lab burned, it released these toxic particulates into the air to be dispersed at the whims of the breeze.
While California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control did measure parts of the site and some of its surrounding area for radioactive material, it has reported it did not find anything above background levels in their initial tests. Fairewinds remains concerned at the possibility of radioactive particles traveling further than where the DTSC initially measured and the challenges of measuring these actual nanoparticles of radioactive dust. Thus, after fielding many questions and having been asked for support, Fairewinds has launched sampling protocols and procedures to collect a wider set of data from as many of the surrounding areas close to the site as possible. Once again, we are utilizing the power of citizen scientists and volunteers to collect these soil and dust samples, so that we and the scientists we work with may more accurately assess if Santa Susana radioactive isotopes are migrating to the surrounding communities or the pristine forests where people hike and explore.
Please remember that all packages must be cleared prior to shipping. Any shipments that arrive without prior authorization will simply be destroyed without testing.