As some fires grow and others are slow to be contained, athletic directors in the area have a tough decision to make.

Will prep football be played this week?

No school has made an official determination whether to play or not, with factors such as smoke, winds and expected rainfall possibly help in the decision-making process. There's also the extent to which teams are able to practice--Kelso, for example, practiced indoors Tuesday--as ash continues to fall like a dusting of snow.

Woodland is slated to play their home opener Friday against La Center and Castle Rock is set at Washougal. Those two games figure to be the most likely to either be moved, postponed or cancelled, due to their proximity to the Eagle Creek Fire, just east of Portland, and having jumped across the Columbia River into Stevenson.

Westerly winds are expected Wednesday. 

While the Hilanders face Mark Morris in a nonleague game, Toledo is scheduled at Ilwaco and Kalama slated to battle on the road at Napavine.

Those two games could prove to be lofty, though the safety of players, coaches and spectators will be considered in the decision. 

The decision to play or not could also come down to just hours prior to kickoff, also, as exemplified by the postponement of a Heritage at Mark Morris girls' soccer game was pushed back two hours before it was scheduled. 

If parents were concerned about football practices the morning of the recent solar eclipse -- there were some parents so worried that they threatened to file lawsuits if kids practiced during a time where prolonged starring into the eclipse could cause permanent vision impairment without proper eyewear -- then games seem likely to be postponed or cancelled. 

Wahkiakum County saw significantly less smoke than central Cowlitz County Tuesday, according to coach Eric Hansen, and they are holding out hope that their home opener against Ocosta will play as planned. 

Coastal cities like Ilwaco have the sea breeze to their advantage. Inland and closer to the flames, though, might not have that same luxury. 

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Jason is a journeyman sports reporter who has covered the Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, along with a heavy emphasis on the Oakland Raiders. He comes to Cowlitz County from Oakland, Calif. and is a loving father.

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