Cal football expects to host Friday night game amid air quality concerns – SFGate

Cal expects to host its Friday night football game against No. 8 Washington State as scheduled, despite concerns about the air quality in Berkeley because of the North Bay fires.

The school issued a statement just before noon Thursday saying it is closely monitoring the situation and is staying in communication with the Pac-12 and Washington State officials as experts determine the best course of action.

“We are working through a unique situation, and the health and safety of our student-athletes, fans, coaches and all those who work home football games is of utmost concern,” the statement said. “As of the time of this release, we do not anticipate any changes to our scheduled game with Washington State.”

The NCAA Sport Science Institute provides parameters for activities in poor air quality, and Cal is using those guidelines. A sustained Air Quality Index of 200 or more is the threshold for delaying or canceling a competition, and the Berkeley area was at only 155 on Thursday afternoon.

Numbers from smoke are highly dependent on wind direction and speed, and past data doesn’t necessarily predict future results. Still, the AQI in Berkeley has declined the past few evenings, falling into the 80s by 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

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