Fires Could Force UCLA To Postpone Football Opener

The Station Fire is about four miles from the Rose Bowl, and come Saturday that may be too close for comfort.

By Kurt Helin
|  Tuesday, Sep 1, 2009  |  Updated 5:24 AM PDT
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Fires Could Force UCLA To Postpone Football Opener

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This scene may be put on hold.

UCLA’s football program and fans may feel the heat of the fires currently raging through Southern California.

The Station Fire that is tearing through a La Cresenta and other areas not far from Pasadena already claimed more than 85,000 acres, the lives of two firemen and caused more than $7 million in damage on Monday afternoon -- and the leading edge of the fire is about four miles from the Rose Bowl, where on Saturday afternoon UCLA is scheduled to start its football season against San Diego State.

As of today that game is still on, according to the official release from UCLA.

Our first concern is for the families affected by the fires and for the men and women fighting those fires.

At this time, the plan is to play Saturday's football game versus San Diego State at the Rose Bowl as scheduled. We are in constant contact with City of Pasadena authorities and will continue to monitor the situation.

A final decision on whether to go forward with the game will likely be reached on Wednesday.

There are a number of factors to consider. First is how close the fire gets to the Rose Bowl itself, potentially making a stadium notoriously hard to get in and out of even worse. Also, the air quality around the stadium could be an issue — you don’t want players and fans breathing in ash and smoke. That takes a lot of fun out of the tailgating as well.

Then there is the issue of whether it is even appropriate to play a game with all the destruction going on around the region.

The good news is if there is a need to reschedule, travel costs and distance are not big issues with San Diego State. The costs of rescheduling will not be as steep as if it were the University of Michigan.

But with everything going on that is a minor consideration and something to worry about later. Saturday’s football game is still on and ready to go. But stay tuned for further updates.

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