Smoke chokes students, cancels sports

CVHS is taking precautions against poor air quality in Castro Valley as a result of recent wildfires, Principal Blaine Torpey announced this morning.

Currently, Castro Valley’s air quality is rated at 160 on the US air quality index, a level four zone which is “Unhealthy,” up from its standard 10. At this level, people may face respiratory issues, whether otherwise healthy or not.

Accordingly, sports practices on Thursday and Friday were cancelled, PE sessions were moved indoors, and the health office distributed masks. The cafeteria and gym will open after school as well to accommodate for students who would otherwise need to wait outside.

During this time, it is essential to limit exposure to low quality air.

“The smoke hurt my throat a little, and in class I saw students coughing and covering their noses and mouths with their shirts. Some of my classmates had allergies acting up. I think the school knows what’s best and made an informed decision to keep school today,” said said senior Raana Naghieh.

Sophomore Michael Wong agreed. “It’s hard to breathe,” he said, hoping sports practice would be cancelled over the weekend as well.

California is currently facing three major wildfires, termed the Camp Fire, Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire from Northern California and near Los Angeles. Wind-driven, they have spread rapidly, and are currently burning over thousands of acres.

The Camp Fire in particular is spreading at a rate of roughly 80 acres per minute, and Cal Fire claims it is only five percent contained. Thousands are being evacuated, and over 110 square miles have been devastated in northern California alone.

The Alameda County Fire Department has sent firefighters to support affected communities, and deployed several Dozer Strike Teams, while Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Butte County.

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