Indigenous soccer championship cancelled due to poor air quality from Mt. Hicks wildfire

Indigenous Provincial Soccer Championships had plans to host 18 teams at Seabird Island Band

The 2018 Indigenous Provincial Soccer Championships have been cancelled, as the air quality in the Eastern Fraser Valley remains at a high risk.

The Mt. Hicks wildfire has not only prompted evacuation alerts, road closures and the rerouting of 2,500 bikers in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, it has led to the cancellation of a province-wide Indigenous soccer tournament hosted by the Seabird Island Band. The fire, now at 4.22 square kilometres and 70 per cent contained, is burning less than 10 kilometres from Seabird.

As late as last week the tournament was planned go ahead despite wildfire activity, but was cancelled early this week due to concerns about air quality said Alissa Assu with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC).

The air quality has remained in the high risk levels throughout the week, hovering between eight and 10+, the highest point on the air quality health index (AQHI).

“Once the AQHI reaches 8-10, its advised for everyone to avoid strenuous activities outdoors. The conditions are not predicted to improve and the risk within the region remains too high,” a post on the event’s Facebook page read.

“We appreciate your understanding with this decision as the health and safety of our youth and communities must be put first.”

Eighteen teams from across B.C., from the U12 to U17 age groups were planning to participate in the Aug. 23 to 25 event.

Teams were coming in from Northern B.C., with some traveling for up to 20 hours to reach the Fraser Valley. The decision was made to cancel the tournament before these teams started their travels, said Seabird’s chief administrative officer Chuck McNeil.

Related coverage:

Ride to Conquer Cancer re-routed away from Mt. Hicks wildfire

Evacuation alert issued for Kamp Road properties as Mount Hicks fire moves west


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