Here in Orange County, a good 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, there is no sign of the wildfires that are raging north of the city.
But the site of the Philadelphia Eagles-Los Angeles Rams game on Sunday is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, just 17 miles from Bel Air, where homes and property are being destroyed by an out-of-control fire.
The Rams, who train north of the city, canceled their Wednesday practice, moving indoors for a walk-through instead because of the smoke.
As it stands now, the fire is not a threat to Sunday’s game, mostly because the winds have been blowing the smoke out to sea.
But if there’s a shift or a temperature inversion, there’s a chance smoke from the fire could be a factor in a city that has been dealing with smog issues for more than half a century.
“It’s obviously a serious issue with what's going on,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said before Wednesday’s practice, “and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected. I know the Rams were affected these last couple of days, and it makes it a little uncomforting and unsettling.
“But I can just remember back a few years ago, we had a snowstorm in Philly that pushed a game [back]. Those thoughts do come back to my mind because I was a part of that too.”
Smoke from distant fires has been an issue in these parts before, however, according to Orefield resident Peter Dectis, who plans to attend the game.
Dectis’ daughter Alexa, attends law school at Chapman University in Orange, less than two miles from Angel Stadium of Anaheim, where the Eagles are training this week.
“They had to cancel classes for three days [in October] because of the ash,” Dectis said.
Dectis is part of a large tailgate group for home games that calls itself the Cheyenne Social Club. He’s unsure if it’s a homage to the 1970 Jimmy Stewart movie.
Dectis always picks at least one road game to attend each season. The Rams were a natural choice this year because of Alexa, who unfortunately won’t be able to attend due to finals.
When Alexa was an undergraduate student at George Washington, it meant some Redskins games for the family.
Peter also remembers being at the Miracle in the Meadowlands II, when DeSean Jackson’s punt return for a touchdown ended a miraculous comeback victory over the New York Giants in 2010, to clinch the NFC East title.
“We’ve picked some pretty good ones over the years,” Dectis said.
Maybe now is not the time to remind him that that Eagles team never even won another game, much less advanced in the playoffs.