Kamloops minor sports feeling the effects of wildfire smoke | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops minor sports feeling the effects of wildfire smoke

The ball diamonds at McArthur Island Park are blanketed in a smokey haze, August 1, 2017.

KAMLOOPS - Both the Kamloops Minor Baseball Association and the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association have had to keep players off the field due to the cloud of smoke that has been plaguing the area.

Though July is not the busiest month of the year for the baseball association, Executive Director Sean Wandler says the rep teams have been practicing throughout the month, though most Monday and Tuesday practices have had to be cancelled or moved to the indoor facility at McArthur Island Park.

"We have indicated to all our rep team coaches that once we get into the high to extreme level of air quality that they are to cancel practices and the kids aren't to be out on the field," says Wandler.

Luckily for the baseball association, the timing of the smoke making its way to Kamloops wasn't too bad as the house leagues had already ended leaving just 10 or so rep teams who are still using the fields. Wandler adds it has mostly been Mondays and Tuesdays that they have found the air quality is too poor to play, and so far he has had to cancel practices on those days three times.

Soccer teams may have to relocate if the smoke remains for a couple weeks.
Soccer teams may have to relocate if the smoke remains for a couple weeks.

As for the soccer association, the impacts have been minimal so far as July is a quiet month for soccer in town. To this point the only program that has been affected is the inclusive drop-in program with three of four dates being cancelled. Some evaluations were cancelled for 17- and 18-year-old players as well. 

However, Technical Director Ciaran McMahon says it could become more of an issue if the smoke lingers well into August and into several summer camps, though they have a backup plan.

"What's nice for us is we have the indoor facility so we can move there if we need to," says McMahon. "But it's Kamloops in the summer so we would like to be outside if we can."

McMahon also notes that teams will want to start practicing for Labour Day tournaments in the next couple weeks, so if the smoke sticks around we could see soccer teams being told they can't play.

Environment Canada currently has Kamloops under a special weather advisory due to the smoke and recommends avoiding strenuous outdoor activity. The smoky skies bulletin also warns that children are among those who are most vulnerable to the effects of wildfire smoke.\

For more information on the Environment Canada advisory, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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