KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – As East Forsyth High School takes on Harding University High School in the first game of state high school football playoffs, East Forsyth Assistant Athletic Director Glenn Alford is keeping close watch of his players.
"We're looking out for our athletes to make sure that if they have any respiratory problems we can go ahead and take care of that,” Alford said.
Smoke caused by wildfires this week in the western part of the state has pushed air quality in the Piedmont into Code Orange.
Experts say it could cause problems for people with asthma or other breathing issues.
"We're being a little more vigilant," Alford said.
Alford says medics are on standby.
"Tonight, we're gonna have our team physician on the sidelines along with our athletic training staff," he said.
The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School district has been monitoring air quality levels all week and communicating daily with coaches and athletic staff.
"They felt the air quality wasn't bad enough to cancel," Alford said.
With skies mostly clear over the football stadium, many at the game say they're not concerned.
"Earlier today, it was bad," said fan Teresa Pruitt. "But, tonight we just wanted to come to the game."
"I don't have any concerns cause I don't have asthma nor heart trouble or any breathing problems," said Jacqueline Booe whose grandson was plays for East Forsyth.
Others like Dorri Lambert are worried.
"I am concerned for the kids and the older adults that come," Lambert said.
Lambert says she doesn't plan to stay for the whole game because she doesn't want to breathe in the air for too long.
"It's just not good to breathe the air," she said. "It's not healthy for anybody really."