Often times during the winter sports season, outdoor sporting events are called off because of rain or lightning.
That didn't prove to be the case Tuesday after six soccer matches involving Pacific League teams were called off because of poor air quality resulting from the nearby Creek and Rye fires in Sylmar and the Santa Clarita Valley, respectively.
Instead of league-opening matches taking place, Glendale and Burbank Unified School District officials postponed contests. That led to athletic directors looking at makeup dates.
League soccer games involving Crescenta Valley against Glendale, Hoover versus Burbank and Burbank against Pasadena were called off. Some makeup dates have been determined, while others are still being examined.
"Usually we don't get these kinds of Santa Ana winds this time of the year because usually it happens in August or September when it's the fire season," Glendale co-athletic director Pat Lancaster said. "The district office made the decision in the early afternoon to call the games off and it's mostly because of the poor air quality.
"Safety will always be the top priority and you just have to roll with the punches."
Burroughs boys' soccer coach Mike Kodama, whose team won the league championship last season, said he couldn't recall similar conditions in more than 20 years coaching the Indians.
"I remember the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 and we had to cancel a bunch of games. I think it was most of the second half of league," Kodama said. "You just never expect this type of weather this time of the year.
"We aren't going to even practice [Tuesday] because of the bad air quality."
Burbank co-athletic director Patrick McMenamin said the district canceled the contest in the early afternoon
"Our primary concern was the smoke from the fires and the direction it might go," McMenamin said.
Instead of competing in a match or practicing, Crescenta Valley fourth-year girls' soccer coach Tyraysha Peterson held a team meeting.
"We talked about the conditions and our next game [Friday at Burbank]," Peterson said. "The wind is unpredictable and I was thinking driving into school about whether we'd be playing or not today.
"We also had time as a team to go over some of the nuts and bolts for some charity events coming up that we're involved in with City of Hope and UCLA."
Hoover athletic director Jack Van Patten said the Burroughs at Hoover boys' soccer match will be held at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and the girls' game at Burroughs will occur at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Makeup dates for Crescenta Valley-Glendale and Burbank-Pasadena games haven't been determined.