Wildfires ignite “smoke war” between Canada and United States

By Marina Wang

Caleb Moon, a resident of Spokane, Wash., was tired of the heavy air pollution caused by the forest fires in British Columbia. In a humorous jest, he took to Facebook and created an event titled “Blow Spokane’s Smoke Away to Canada.”

“This was just a silly, dumb, fun idea that me and my friends had,” organizer Caleb Moon told Canadian Geographic. “We made a stupid Facebook event, thinking that our friends would look at it and laugh. Then I went to bed.”

The next day, Moon’s satirical event found over 1,500 responders.

“There are roughly 550,000 residents of the Spokane, Washington metropolitan area (per worldpopulationreview.com). To get rid of this smoke, we have to work together as a community. After much deliberation and mathematical calculation, we have figured that it is absolutely possible for us to blow this smoke away with high powered fans. This Friday, every resident must place at least 5 box fans on their roof,” reads the event description. “Let’s do this, Spokanites. Let’s send this smoke right back to those Canucks!”

British Columbia is currently under a state of emergency, as this year’s wildfires have burnt over 945,000 hectares. Last weekend, the air quality index in Spokane was pushed into the “Hazardous” range, and residents were warned to stay inside.

According to the joke event, Spokane residents will be outside with their fans between August 25 and September 7.

Following the popularity of the event, a “Great Smoke War of 2018” Facebook group was created where members are encouraged to post friendly memes adding to the joke.

“With all of the smoke that is being produced, it seems that people are looking for a way to get rid of it; on both sides of the border,” reads the description.

“The Americans have considered throwing rocks and aiming fans to blast the smoke away. The Canadians have considered building a wall of bushes to stop the smoke from returning, and even sucking the smoke back up with vacuum cleaners. Who will win this indefinite war?”