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Smoky skies have forced the postponement or cancellation of numerous sporting events this week.

MISSOULA — The smoke was no joke for several teams in western Montana.

Nearly a dozen high school sporting events were canceled Thursday and for the upcoming weekend. Several football games may be canceled or moved with decisions to come in the near future.

The smoke from forest fires was so bad that it penetrated into Seeley-Swan High School, athletic director Shawn Holmes said Thursday. The football team has been practicing at Mount Jumbo Elementary School in East Missoula. Seeley-Swan students have had classes this week at the Resort at Paws Up in Greenough.

"It terrible," Holmes said of the smoke. "It's so bad we can't even practice in our gym. It's ... a really thick fog. It permeates everything. We try to clear it out. It's just too bad."

It's not much better up north. Charlo football has been practicing inside since last week, athletic director Mike Krahn said. Charlo may possibly relocate its Friday home game, but if it can't and the smoke remains the same as it is today, he said there's "no way we can play."

Florence has canceled all homecoming activities except for its football game, Falcons athletic director Scott Marsh said. That includes the homecoming parade, powder puff football game and homecoming breakfast.


Noxon's varsity football home game against West Yellowstone on Friday has been moved to 1 p.m. Saturday at West Yellowstone.

Libby's varsity football home game against Frenchtown was moved to Frenchtown, according to the Libby High School athletics Twitter account. Libby coach Neil Fuller said the schools will know around noon Friday if the game will be played Friday. He said there have been talks of playing Saturday.

Missoula Sentinel's varsity game against Great Falls may be moved to Butte on Friday night. A decision will be made by 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Seeley-Swan's varsity football game against Victor on Saturday may be moved from Victor to Great Falls Central. A decision will be known early afternoon Friday, according to Holmes.

The status of Charlo's varsity home game against Arlee on Friday will be known around noon the same day, Krahn said. He said the game might be moved to Drummond on Saturday.

Plans for Florence and Bigfork's Saturday football game are being discussed with a decision expected early Saturday morning, according to Marsh. Among possible scenarios are keeping the game at Florence at 5 p.m. Saturday, playing at Missoula County Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, playing at Stevensville on Saturday, playing at Bigfork on Saturday and playing at Butte on Saturday.

Corvallis (vs. Polson) and Hamilton (vs. Browning) are still scheduled to play their Friday games at home, both at 7 p.m., according to Corvallis athletic director Tyson Tucker. If air quality is unhealthy Friday, both teams will play at home Saturday. If the air quality is unhealthy Saturday, they will move their games to Butte.

Hellgate freshman football was also canceled Thursday because of the poor air quality.


Eight soccer games were canceled Thursday due to the poor air quality caused by fires. Among the cancellations were both the boys and girls games for Flathead at Missoula Hellgate, Missoula Loyola at Hamilton, Helena Capital at Missoula Sentinel and Kalispell Glacier at Missoula Big Sky.

The Loyola and Hamilton games have been rescheduled for Sept. 30, according to Hamilton AD Travis Blome. The boys will play at 11 a.m., followed by the girls at 1 p.m.

Flathead and Hellgate are rescheduled for Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. for boys and noon for girls, according to Flathead athletic director Bryce Wilson.

Whitefish's Friday home games against Billings Central were moved to Rocky Mountain College in Billings. The boys will play at 3 p.m. Friday, and the girls will play at 5 p.m.

Polson's Friday home games against Laurel have been moved to Laurel. The boys kick off at 3 p.m., followed by the girls at 5 p.m.

Polson and Whitefish will then swap opponents on Saturday. The Pirates take on Billings Central at 10 a.m. (girls) and noon (boys). The Bulldog girls get Laurel at 10 a.m. and the boys also at noon.

Libby's boys' and girls' games against Hamilton on Saturday were canceled, according to the program's Twitter account. No make-up date has been announced yet.

Cross country

Friday's Flathead Cross Country Invitational was canceled Thursday. The meet won't be rescheduled, according to Flathead AD Bryce Wilson.

Twenty-nine high schools were scheduled to participate, including area schools Arlee, Bigfork, Charlo, Columbia Falls, Corvallis, Darby, Flathead, Glacier, Hamilton, Hot Spring, Libby, Loyola, Ronan, Seeley-Swan, Sentinel, St. Ignatius, Stevensville, Thompson Falls and Whitefish.


Thursday's Libby Invitational was canceled for both the boys and girls, according to Libby's Twitter account.

This story will be updated as needed.

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