West Fork Fire proximity to asbestos contaminated mine raising c - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

West Fork Fire proximity to asbestos contaminated mine raising concerns

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The West Fork Fire is in close proximity to the old W. R. Grace mine. This raised concerns for many in the northern parts of Montana, as the mine was shut down for asbestos in 1999.

After doing a lot of research and talking with the environmental protection agency, they assured us there isn’t any asbestos in the smoke from the west fork fire.

first off the fire is far enough away from the asbestos contaminated forest that there isnt too much concern that it will burn, and the fire fighters have created containment lines to make sure the fire doesn't reach the mine, but if it does, rest assured we are still pretty safe.

“I do know from the test burns that we have done in some EPA investigations, we've seen the majority of the asbestos stays in the ash a much smaller amount is released into smoke” says Christina Progess.

That much smaller amount of asbestos released into the air is only about 5 percent of what was burned. The EPA said they are still collecting samples on a regular basis to ensure no asbestos is being released into the air.

Progess also assured us the EPA is working closely with the health departments of the surrounding counties to make sure plans are in place in case they need to evacuate local towns if, and that's a big if, the fire makes it to the abandoned mine.

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