The Southern California wildfires forced 45 Rams employees to evacuate, coach Sean McVay said Friday. Around 20 players and coaches were affected, including defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Johnson.
After the fire crossed Highway 101, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for Malibu and “all areas south of 101 Freeway from Ventura County line to Las Virgenes Road.”
The Rams, who train at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, canceled practice Friday as a result.
“Everybody is OK,” McVay said in quotes distributed by the team. “I knew that there was going to be a bunch of guys that ended up having to leave their houses just based on the way that those fires spread and that are living in those areas that were affected by it. . . . I don’t think anybody’s houses has specifically been affected in terms of [burning down], but they did have to leave the areas. For us, which is all the things that are considered knowing that how some of the road closings, the quality of the air potentially, we just felt like most importantly was for the guys to be with their families, their wives, their kids and kind of be that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in, be totally distracted, like I know I would be if I was in their role.”
The Rams will practice at USC on Saturday.
The wildfires are a second blow to the area this week after the mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks bar. The Rams plan to honor the victims and survivors of that tragedy Sunday, with the game still currently set to be played.
“I think, if anything, the last couple days give you perspective,” McVay said.