The “Big Game” between the California and Stanford football teams originally set for Saturday was postponed to Dec. 1 because of poor air quality resulting from wildfires in northern California.
The air-quality index has exceeded healthy levels in the San Francisco Bay area for much of the past week. The AQI in Oakland on Saturday morning was 223, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, a level that is considered “very unhealthy” by the federal agency.
The NCAA recommends activities should be moved indoors or shortened at a measurement of 150. At 200, the NCAA suggests that “serious consideration should be given to rescheduling the activity or moving it indoors.”
There are 10 partially contained wildfires burning up the Golden State, and three are within 70 miles of Berkeley, the site of the game. The Camp Fire in Paradise is 160 miles away and has burned 148,000 acres and is only 55 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
“We have been carefully tracking air quality in Berkeley and the Bay Area over the past week, relying on the best data and guidance available to us from medical and environmental experts,” Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “The forecasts we have received show a minimal chance of the improvement necessary to hold the game on Saturday.”
Cal canceled its traditional pep rally bonfire before the “Big Game,” played nearly annually starting in 1892, due to the air quality. Stanford holds a 63-46-11 all-time advantage heading into the school’s 121st meeting and has won the last eight games.
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