?In the last week, fire tornadoes have been spotted in northern California, which has been in havoc due to hundreds of wildfires.
??Approximately 5,000 square kilometers of land, which is equal to roughly seven times the size of Singapore, have suffered from fire.
?Thousands of people have been evacuated as the fires have consumed homes and buildings. Fire tornadoes pose an additional challenge to firefighters due to their speed, unpredictable pathway, and potential to leap over natural barriers such as road and rivers.
What is a Fire Tornado?
?One of the more rarely photographed and dangerous phenomena in nature is the Fire Tornado.
?These are also called ‘fire whirls” or “fire-nadoes,” and are comprised, as the name would imply, of a mix of a tornado and a fire.
?Fire tornadoes can come into existence during a blaze when the conditions are just right such that extreme heat from the fire rushes upwards and the surrounding air, ash, and fire replaces it, hence creating a column of spinning hot air.
?The core may stand 15 to 30 meters tall and is the part that is actually on fire, while the air rotating on the outside feeds fresh oxygen to the core.
”The opportunity for them to form in the right conditions is a low likelihood and rare.” says Heath Hockenberry, the National Weather Service’s national fire weather program manager. “They have to have a heat source that’s the right shape, they have to have a fire in the right terrain, wind flow that’s just right – so you’re not going to see a rash of fire tornadoes.”
?️Fire tornadoes can fling embers tens of kilometers away.
?Temperature can reach up to 2,000°F (1093°C).
?️They only last a few minutes, which is why it’s difficult to catch them on video.
?They are so powerful that they can create their own microclimate, changing the orientation of nearby winds, potentially creating their own thunderstorm clouds.