Rick Campbell: conditions ‘really good’ thus far, but wildfires remain ‘a factor’ in B.C. training camp

B.C. Lions’ head coach Rick Campbell is keeping a close eye on the wildfires that continue to ravage British Columbia.

“So far since we’ve been up here it’s been really good. I got a little scared this morning — I looked out my window at 5:00 a.m. and it was quite smokey. We know that’s an issue but we really got a good breeze going right around breakfast time and that really seemed to help,” said Campbell in a videoconference on Sunday.

There are over 300 active wildfires in B.C., 25 of which have been deemed a potential threat to public safety. The region of Okanagan-Similkameen declared a local state of emergency on the weekend as homes were evacuated as a nearby fire spread uncontrollably.

B.C.’s training camp is taking place at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, which is located 350 kilometres northeast of Vancouver. The Okanagan-Similkameen region is 150 kilometres south of Kamloops and is home to one of the fires contributing to the diminished air quality in the area.

“It’s definitely smokey up here, but there’s a wind going and the conditions kind of change a bit, but I think the wind is what made the big difference so the air’s not stale,” said Campbell. “You can still see the mountains. It’s definitely going to be a factor day-by-day, so we’ll just take it as it goes and be smart about it.”

Campbell was hired as the head coach and co-general manager of the B.C. Lions in December 2019 following a six-year stint with the Redblacks. He went 44-62-2 as the head coach in Ottawa and won a Grey Cup in 2016 before mutually parting ways with the team following a disastrous 3-15 season in 2019.

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