Unhealthy air stops games, practices

Bad air quality caused by wildfires is causing local school sporting events to be canceled.

On Tuesday, Eatonville High School’s girls soccer match against Rochester was called off. All other Eatonville teams with scheduled practices were being allowed but with health restrictions. Any other cancellations will be decided on a day-to-day basis, a school district official said.

In the Bethel School District, no competition was scheduled Tuesday, but outdoor practices were canceled, the district announced.

For the period of Sept. 5 (Tuesday) through Sept. 8, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency predicts that air quality will be moderate to unhealthy. In Pierce County, the agency advised against strenuous activity for virtually everyone, including those who don’t have breathing or heart-related illnesses or are pregnant—three of the most at-risk groups.

The difficulties with air quality is caused by smoke and ash from major wildfires in Washington that drifted across the Cascade Mountains and into western Washington.

Although there was hope that the air would improve Tuesday night and into Wednesday, the air on Teusday could “cause our students with asthma and other breathing and respiratory issues to experience heightened symptoms and discomfort,” said Lisa Wolfe, Eatonville School District’s athletic director. “At this time, we are advising our athletic teams to do moderate to light activity (Tuesday) afternoon.  No heavy conditioning or strenuous activity.  All activities for sports should be skill-oriented and light.”

Wolfe said the decision to cancel any games or other outdoor activities “is not taken lightly, but is intended to protect the health and welfare of our students.”


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