More than a month after severe wildfires first impacted high school sports in California, another group of fires is affecting the high school slate in Utah, too.
As reported by the Associated Press, two different wildfires that are currently coursing through Utah county are forcing families to evacuate and disrupting practice and game schedules.
“Girls weren’t able to get all of their soccer clothes out of their house but the other girls came together and they mixed and matched items to make it work,” Salem Hills girls soccer coach and athletic director Lee Gillie told the Associated Press. “You could get in line to go up to the houses and get clothes, but it was based on time. Many of us ended up wearing the same two or three outfits for a week.”
As one might expect, the biggest issue facing Salem Hills and other high school programs was deleterious air conditions, with smoke from the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires making the air athletes were forced to breathe unsafe. Those are conditions led to indoor practices where and when available and, when possible, holding practices as late in the day as possible (the air conditions tend to improve as the day goes on, per the AP).
According to Gillie, so far his squad and others have found a way to overcome the challenging circumstances facing them, both by continuing to attend classes at the school and holding practices for all students who didn’t have to flee the area entirely.
“I was living with my family in Spanish Fork and as I would drive to work, I would look up on the hill and just see smoke and firefighters,” Gillie said. “It was a constant reminder that this wasn’t where we wanted to be.”