It likely will come as little solace to high school football players, coaches and fans, but the first week of regular-season games originally scheduled for Friday — the start of a season that was moved to the spring because of the pandemic — probably wouldn’t have happened as scheduled.
The smoky air from the Evans Canyon Fire that filled much of the Yakima Valley likely would have been deemed too unhealthy to play in.
Yakima’s Air Quality Index — a measurement that athletic directors and coaches have learned to watch in recent years — was above 180 at noon, according to www.airnow.gov. Conditions in the Lower Valley weren’t much better as Grandview was 153 at the same time.
Both numbers are considered unhealthy and likely to result in the disruption of the sports schedule. Washington State Department of Health recommendations suggest teams move indoors if the AQI index rises above 100.
The AQI is broken down to six color-coded categories:
• Green: Good (0-50).
• Yellow: Moderate (51-100).
• Orange: Unhealthy for sensitive groups (101-150).
• Red: Unhealthy (151-200).
• Purple: Very unhealthy (201-300).
• Maroon Hazardous (301 and higher).
Last year the local fall sports schedule remained fairly unscathed after years of postponements and cancellations.
While there are no organized sports, it’s still recommended that people limit time outdoors while the AQI remains above moderate.
Labor Day Weekend activities already took a hit with the closure of Yakima River Canyon recreation sites, including boat launches and campgrounds, on Wednesday.