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Air quality concerns force local schools to cancel sporting events

Air quality concerns force local schools to cancel sporting eventsScott Wine had his phone attached to his ear on Thursday afternoon.

The Buhach Colony athletic director was busy informing coaches, schools and officials that Thursday's outside sporting events and practices were postponed.

Smoke lingering in the air from the 20,000- acre fire in Plumas County caused air warnings in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

The Merced Union High School District notified its schools that the air quality was too poor to allow student athletes to participate in outside activities.

Indoor sporting events like volleyball went on as scheduled.

"It was tough," Wine said. "It was just before noon and everybody was getting ready for a game or getting ready to leave. We had to scramble to get everyone the news. We were calling officials, ambulences and coaches."

Buhach postponed a girls tennis match, a boys soccer game, a freshman football game and boys and girls water polo matches.

Golden Valley athletic director Kurt Kollmann received an e-mail from the district office around noon.

"The district designated it as a red flag day for the air quality," said Kollmann, who had to reschedule tennis and soccer matches.

"We're dealing with asthma and breathing issues.

"It's not 100 degrees, but the heat can come into play too. There's potential for sickness and injuries."

Kollmann also said afternoon P.E. classes were forced to stay inside.

In preparation for today's football games, Merced and Buhach Colony each conducted walk-through practices in the school cafeterias.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 209-385-2462 or via e-mail at