Rapids match to go ahead despite plague in area

The Colorado Rapids' home game against the Montreal Impact will go on as planned Saturday despite confirmed cases of the sylvatic plague among wildlife in the area surrounding Commerce City, Colorado, where the Rapids play their games.

The Rapids have, however, canceled the fireworks show scheduled for after the game and restricted parking around the stadium as a precaution, the club announced on Friday.

"Following recommendations from the Tri-County Health Department and the City of Commerce City, the Colorado Rapids game with Montreal Impact on Saturday, August 3 at 7 p.m. will go ahead as scheduled. However, it has been recommended that the post-game fireworks display be cancelled due to the confirmed presence of plague-infested fleas affecting prairie dog colonies in the surrounding areas," the Rapids said in a team statement.

"Additionally, in accordance with the Tri-County Health Department's recommendation for the safety of all attendees, parking lots at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park will be restricted to asphalt lots until further notice.

"The health department feels that these precautions will greatly minimize the risk of exposure to patrons, players, and employees and help ensure a safe experience. At this time, the post-game fireworks display will not be rescheduled. Our highest priority is the health and safety of our fans, staff, and local community. We will continue to monitor the situation in the lead up to the Rapids home game with Montreal Impact on Saturday at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park."

The stadium borders the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which has been closed since Wednesday after plague was discovered in prairie dogs on the refuge and in other nearby areas. According to its website, plague is a "rare but serious" disease caused by a bacterium that "can be transmitted to humans via mammals and their fleas."

The Rapids are second-bottom in the Western Conference table, having lost four of their past five matches. The Impact are in sixth place in the East.