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The rare event occurs when a fire is whipped up by strong, dry air currents to form a vertical whirl. Most large fire tornadoes are formed when wildfire converges with a warm updraft of air, and a wildfires can contain a number of fire whirls of varying intensity, size and duration. In 2012, filmmaker Chris Tangey captured rare images of a firenado in the Australian Outback. As dozens of wildfires rage across the hills of San Diego County in Southern California, thousands of firefighters are battling conditions such as erratic winds, rough terrain and extreme heat. Nonetheless, firenadoes can be extremely dangerous — temperatures can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius) in a fire tornado. Even experts are sometimes surprised by the destructive force of a fire tornado: In 2000, a fire whirl under observation by a crew from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection jumped a firebreak, lifted an all-terrain vehicle off the ground and smashed it into an SUV, crushing part of the SUV and injuring a crew member.
Perhaps the worst series of firenadoes on record occurred during the wildfires that swept across Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and the surrounding area in 1871.
The fire was intense enough to leap across the waters of Green Bay and burn parts of the Door Peninsula.
Fire tornadoes (also called fire whirls, firenados, fire devils) are rare weather events that occur when a unique set of conditions come together.
One of the most recent incidents occurred just a few days ago where an Australian filmmaker was in the right place at the right time to shoot this incredible 90-foot-tall fire tornado.

For 40 minutes he watched in amazement as several 30-metre (98 ft) tall fire tornadoes danced just a short distance away from him. A fire tornado, however, picks up burning embers, ash, flaming-hot gases and flammable debris, creating a terrifying tower of flame that can extend hundreds of feet into the air. As the hot air rises and cools, its strength diminishes, and whatever fuel creates the firenado will eventually burn out.
Additionally, because they move quickly, they can cut a swath of destruction for a considerable distance in just seconds and spread fires across a wide area. The gif above is from one of the the most recent firenado video filmed last year in Australia, by filmmaker Chris Tangey. An extreme example is the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Japan which ignited a large city-sized firestorm and produced a gigantic fire whirl that killed 38,000 in 15 minutes in the region of Tokyo. Fire-nadoes or fire whirls may be whirlwinds separated from the flames, either within the burn area or outside it, or it can be a vortex of flame, itself. The resulting fire burned for five days; one fire whirl traveled eastward and struck a home, lifting it into the air and carrying it across a field until it was dropped, destroying the house and killing two people inside it. As if tornados aren't bad enough on their own, sometimes air can swirl around and make a whirlwind that has considerable amounts of water (waterspout), dirt (dust devils), or even fire (fire whirl). According to NOAA (the National Oceanic Administrative Association), “While rare, fire tornadoes (also known as fire whirls) generally form when superheated air near the surface of a large fire zone rises rapidly in an airmass where sufficient horizontal or vertical vorticity (spin in the atmosphere) is also present. Another example is the numerous large fire whirls (some tornadic) that developed after lightning struck a Californian oil storage facility in 1926 — several of which produced significant structural damage well away from the fire, killing two.

Strong Santa Ana winds helped the fire to destroy more than 30,000 acres and 314 residences.
In essence, fire-nadoes can form under certain weather conditions (depending on air temperature and currents) that acquire a vertical vorticity (or spin) and forms a whirl — or a tornado-like vertically oriented rotating column of air. Most commonly, fire whirls occur when hot, strong winds, often whipping through trees, come into contact with already raging bushfires.
Updraughts of hot air catch the fire and surrounding winds send it whirling into the air, sucking up debris and flammable gases. The core of the whirlwind is actually the part that is on fire, and a ring of air around the core fuels the flames with fresh oxygen. Adding insult to injury, the high speed winds created a massive fire whirl that claimed the lives of 44,000 people who had tried to find refuge elsewhere away from the shore. Thousands of whirlwinds were produced by the four-day-long firestorm coincident with conditions that produced severe thunderstorms, in which the larger fire whirls carried debris 5km away.
In fact, fire tornadoes are more closely related to whirlwinds than they are to full-fledged tornadoes. These situations include wildfires, large fires spawned by natural disasters and, in some cases, house fires.

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