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Spokane wants to use fans to blow fire smoke back to Canada

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 12:54 PM -

UPDATE 08.22.18: The description of the Facebook group has now been updated to read "STRONG SATIRE AHEAD." 


Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 12:54 PM - The wildfires burning across B.C. are creating a thick layer of smoke that can be seen as far away as Ontario.

The province is under a state of emergency with no end in sight. Air quality statements blanket western Canada as smoke from the more than 500 wildfires burning help to create some of the worst air quality in the world.

"Smoky skies will continue across most of the province for the next few days," reads a statement from Environment Canada. "Local smoke levels may vary based on wind direction and fire characteristics but, until a significant change in the provincial weather pattern occurs, widespread air quality improvements are not expected."

Residents in Spokane, Washington have also been impacted, and a growing number of residents are hoping to do something about it.

A Facebook event called "Blow Spokane's Smoke Away" has popped up. So far, more than 1,000 people have indicated they plan to participate.

Residents are being asked to place at least five box fans on their roofs, turned up to the highest setting, and pointed toward "northeastern Canada" Friday at noon.

"There are roughly 550,000 residents of the Spokane, Washington metropolitan area ...To get rid of this smoke, we have to work together as a community," reads the Facebook description.

"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. Turn your fans on to the highest setting, and aim them toward northeastern Canada."

Organizer Caleb Moon tells Global News he's serious about the idea, and he thinks it could work.

But senior environmental scientist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control told Global the idea is "ridiculous."

“One sort of floor fan could move a little smoke around, but there’s no way that a large group of fans is going to move as much smoke as there actually is,” she said.

Smoke is supposed to start clearing in the area Thursday into Friday, so Spokane residents may see a return to clearer skies, even without their fans.


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