- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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Washington State could be forced to relocate or move its season opener with Portland State due to the rampant wildfires in the state.
"We have started to talk about alternatives in regard to locations or dates to move a game," Washington State athletic director Bill Moos told ESPN.com. "I'm confident that we'll be playing in Martin Stadium. … My charge to my staff is to continue to prepare for that and leave the other logistics of alternate sites or dates to my senior staff who I have working on that."
The fires are now the largest in state history, covering 256,567 acres according to USA Today. The fires grew by more than 26 square miles on Saturday and are expected to continue growing and burning for a few more months which could ultimately impact the Cougars' plans to play in Martin Stadium.
Washington State was already forced to practice indoors on Sunday because the air quality was too poor to practice outdoors.
Moos said that the athletic department is monitoring air quality daily. He has advised the coaching staff to proceed as though the game will be played in Martin Stadium. He said if concerns about air quality persist by Monday, a decision will be made as to whether to change the date of the game or the venue, though he made it clear that his preference would be the former.
"Obviously, an alternate date allows us to play in our stadium," Moos said. "We've got suite holders and loge box holders and season ticket holders that we want to make sure that we are accommodating. I would probably prefer another date. We certainly want to and need to play that game as it could have an impact on the outcome of our season and whether we're in the postseason or not."
The Cougars' only bye week of the season is Sept. 26 and Portland State already has a game against Western Oregon scheduled for that day. This would force schedule makers and decision makers at both schools get pretty creative in finding a solution that wouldn't hurt either team.