The Raiders typically practice for about two hours each day. But the team cut practice short by about 30 minutes on Wednesday because of wildfires that are sweeping through northern California.
A team spokesperson told Al Saracevic of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Raiders skipped individual position drills to get players off the field and out of the smoke.
“You definitely could smell it. We’ll see. They asked us about how we feel,” running back Jalen Richard said of the smoke.
Poor air quality has caused high school and youth teams to forgo outdoor activities altogether to protect players from smoke inhalation. Many high school games have already been canceled for this week.
Oakland shortened its practice on Thursday, also, as the EPA has deemed the region’s air quality “unhealthy.” While players are on the field, some are taking extra measures to avoid smoke inhalation.
Raiders WRs Michael Crabtree, Isaac Whitney in face masks today amid air quality the EPA deemed "Unhealthy." Shorter practice because of it. pic.twitter.com/eYWPXrIP7l— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 12, 2017
“We’re seeing the worst air quality ever recorded in many parts of the Bay Area,” Tom Flannigan from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District told the Chronicle. “The entire Bay Area population is likely being affected by the smoke.”
The wildfires have claimed the lives of at least 23 people, while hundreds remain missing. It may disrupt the Raiders’ game preparation routine, but that’s a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme.
Bay Area teams, including the Raiders, are uniting to raise money for wildfire relief efforts. The 49ers, A’s, the San Jose Earthquakes, San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks, and Golden State Warriors announced a collective $450,000 contribution, and they’re encouraging fans to chip in through a YouCaring site.
The Raiders will welcome the Chargers to Oakland on Sunday.