the worst air quality in the world

Smoke from California wildfires was bad enough to force college football games to be canceled, athletic director says

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The California and Oregon fires are carried across the state by the jet stream as smoke fills the Salt Lake City valley, obscuring the sky on Friday, August 6, 2021.

The University of Utah football team had not scheduled a football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday, but if it did, it would not be played due to the poor quality of the game. air in Salt Lake City.

Utes sporting director Mark Harlan said on Friday afternoon.

During an ESPN 700 radio interview, Harlan said the school plans to have Rice-Eccles Stadium at its new total capacity of 51,444 this season. Then he focused on the smoke from the wildfires on the west coast that had thickened over Utah and reduced visibility.

“If we were to have a soccer game today, we wouldn’t be able to play because of the air quality,” said Harlan.

Salt Lake City had the worst air of any major city in the world on Friday morning, according to IQAir.com.

Under NCAA and Pac-12 rules, if the Air Quality Index (AQI) is between 150 and 200, schools cannot play, Harlan said. The IQA reading on campus at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning was over 300, which Harlan said put an end to all outdoor practices on campus.

According to the NCAA, when the AQI reaches 300 or more, “outdoor activities must be moved indoors or canceled if indoor activity is not an option.”

To that end, Utah’s football training was halted Friday morning amid deteriorating air quality, a university spokesperson said.

By 4:15 p.m., Salt Lake City’s AQI had dropped to 169 according to IQAir.com. For anything over 150, the NCAA states that “outdoor activities should be shortened and exertion should be minimized by decreasing the intensity of the activity. Sensitive athletes should be moved indoors.

Ute’s football training, which was scheduled for late afternoon, has been moved inside Eccles Field House, which is adjacent to the normal outdoor training ground.

At BYU, the Cougars started their second day of fall camp at around 10:20 a.m. on Friday morning, when it was still clear skies in Provo, but as soon as the smoke settled, the team moved on. packed her bags and moved to her indoor training center. , a BYU spokesperson said.

Provo didn’t see AQI numbers as high as Salt Lake City’s, but still hit unhealthy levels for all groups. BYU will continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and adjust practices accordingly.

– Salt Lake Tribune reporter Norma Gonzalez contributed to this story.

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