Athletes struggle with Valley's poor air quality

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a hazy night on the gridiron for Fresno City College. Their home opener on Saturday was clouded by the Rough Fire.

"Earlier in the day, when I stepped outside the house was making me itch. The stuff that was coming down from the air, and then I feel bad because my car is dirty again," said Rams fan Lydia Martinez.

The ash is traveling miles from where it's burning to Fresno, and it almost forced officials to cancel this game.

"It was decided administratively that pushing it back two hours we thought would be better beneficially for the players," said Cris Monahan Bremer of Fresno City College.

High levels of ozone and particulate matter from the nearby fire is creating a layer of mucky air.

"Even the healthiest person who doesn't have a respiratory issue might find that their throat is scratchy, their eyes are watery, and they just don't feel right," said Heather Heinks of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Across town, professional skater Emilio Fernandez is feeling the effects. "This is pretty much one of the worst weather to skate; maybe a lot of people wouldn't even skate," he said.

He's visiting all the way from Mexico to explore abandoned pools, but the intense skating might have to wait for next time.

"The heat is fine, you can deal with the weather like hot and stuff, but those ashes were definitely another thing," said Fernandez.

No matter where you are in the Central Valley, there's no avoiding the haze.
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