Wildfires affect NBA, NFL and college games in California

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The California Camp Fire has continued to blaze and its flames are only getting stronger. By Saturday, at least 23 people have been reported dead and the town of Paradise has been nearly obliterated.

The Butte County fire is so strong its effects can be felt in nearby areas like Sacramento and Palo Alto.

On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Lakers play the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center where smoke has infiltrated the building.

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Lakers radio broadcaster John Ireland tweeted that people inside the arena could feel some of the smoke from the fires nearly two hours away. While the smoke was not overwhelming, it could still be felt in the eyes and throat.

Other sports games in the area have closely monitored the air quality. Some have been canceled while others have been able to proceed.

Sacramento State canceled its scheduled game against Northern Arizona on Saturday with rescheduling to be discussed at a later date. Stanford and UC Berkeley have been monitoring smoke activity and were able to keep most of their scheduled events — including football, water polo, volleyball and soccer games — but the Stanford women’s swim meet on Friday was canceled.

NFL adjusts and responds

Other teams in the Bay Area, including the Oakland Raiders who have a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, have not provided updates based on weather conditions. The Raiders were originally scheduled to have a full practice, but it was changed to a walkthrough because of the flames.

In Southern California, which is also fighting its own set of wildfires, the Los Angeles Rams canceled practice altogether.

“We just felt like the most important thing was for the guys to be with their families, their wives and their kids and be that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in and be totally distracted like I know I would be if I was in their role,” coach Sean McVay said.

McVay told ESPN that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Johnson both had to evacuate their homes, but that to his knowledge, no homes of anyone in the Rams’ organization had caught fire.

The San Francisco 49ers are not scheduled to play until Monday night, but are in communication with the NFL league offices about any possible changes to their game against the New York Giants. Still, players and coaches are aware that the lives of their families, those affected by wildfires and first responders take precedent over football.

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“I’ve got to [pay attention to the wildfires]; I’ve got kids,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “They’re at school and I just talked to my wife, making sure they’re not letting them go outside. But there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on out there today.”

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