COSTA MESA — The Chargers will play the Raiders this Sunday. It’s just unclear whether or not they will do so in Oakland.
Devastating wildfires in Northern California have left at least 29 people dead, with hundreds of others still missing. Tens of thousands have been evacuated from their homes. The top priority for the public should remain, first and foremost, the safety of all those affected. Local organizations offering assistance include the Napa Valley Community Foundation and the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
But the disaster has also impacted the sports world, casting uncertainty on the location of Sunday’s game between the Chargers and the Raiders. Although kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, smoke from the wildfires has drifted all over the San Francisco Bay Area.
Those conditions prompted the Raiders (2-3) to shorten practices on Wednesday and Thursday, with some players opting to wear face masks. The Environmental Protection Agency rated air quality in the area as “unhealthy,” advising the public to “reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.” A five-day forecast from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District predicts that air quality will improve Sunday to “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” which would leave most healthy adults unaffected.
As of Thursday evening, the game remains scheduled to kick off in Oakland. The NFL would likely need to finalize a move by Friday morning to allow teams time to adjust travel plans.
“We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the Raiders and Chargers, as well as local authorities,” league spokesperson Michael Signora said in a statement. “At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.”
This isn’t the first time natural disasters have impacted the NFL schedule this season. Last month in Florida, Hurricane Irma forced the league to delay the season opener between the Dolphins and the…