School athletic practices continue despite smoky skies

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- School is almost back in session, and athletic teams are already gearing up for the year.

Sunnyside High School football players practiced on the field under smoky skies Wednesday morning.

We've now seen the haze and smoke from the Ferguson Fire for weeks here in the valley--and coaches are keeping an eye on the air quality, which some say hasn't been unhealthy enough to cancel practice.

"So far the numbers from the air control district have shown that the numbers are okay," says Fresno Unified athletic manager Brett Mar.

Mar says aside from the numbers they evaluate the air themselves each day, too, and says if they can see or smell smoke or ash, they'll have students go inside.

For now--coaches are following heat safety protocol and practicing in the morning before 11 am, or later at night after 7 pm.

"They should be giving their athletes extra rest extra time in the shade longer breaks and of course hydrating," says Mar.

Central Unified School District officials say they also have sports practice in session and follow guidelines based on the combination of ozone and particulate matter.

At one point Wednesday morning they were listed in the red, a level 4 for unhealthy air quality and followed the guidelines, increasing rest periods and making sure students sensitive to unhealthy air are medically managing their health, but levels are subject to change throughout the day.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Control District says until numbers are unhealthy for 'all' in a level 5 for ozone or particulate matter, outdoor activities don't need to be completely canceled, but even at level 4, they should be modified.
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