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Brian Schmetzer speaks out on climate change

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The Sounders head coach didn’t hold back when asked about playing in a smoke-filled stadium.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Wildfires have already burned more than 1 million acres, destroyed thousands of homes in and forced the evacuation of 500,000 Oregonians, sending massive amounts of smoke into the Seattle area. In some parts of the city, conditions are even considered “hazardous.”

But when asked to describe what it was like playing in those conditions on Thursday, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer took his answer in another direction.

“As a human being, as someone who lives on Planet Earth, I think that people better taken notice that climate change is happening,” Schmetzer said. “If people can’t see it, they’re crazy because it’s happening.

“It’s a sad story that you can have a massive fire on the west side of the state of Washington that can affect the air quality in our town. Normally, it’s Northern California or Oregon or Eastern Washington, but it’s happening closer and closer, it’s happening more and more and people need to be aware of climate change.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state is on pace to have one of its worst wildfire years in history and the scientific consensus is that climate change is contributing to the strength and frequency of the fires.

As much as scientists may agree about climate change’s affect on wildfires, there’s an equally large consensus that “controlled burns” are perhaps an even more important part of preventing them.

Neither of these solutions are easy, but they are likely the only way we keep conditions like those currently enveloping Seattle from becoming normal.