Picture captures fire-whirl

firewhirl, firenado, fire tornado
Fire-Whirl [photo courtesy of Instagram user “Nicejalapeno”]
Chillicothe, Missouri — As a woman was driving down a county road, she came across a farmer burning off his field.

The Instagram up-loader known as “Nicejalapeno,” said it was a windy day and the flames were intense.

As she stopped to snap a photo, the wind kicked up and created a fire tornado or “firenado.” This phenomenon is actually known as a “fire-whirl.”

She posted that it was the most beautiful, yet scariest thing she has ever seen.

According to a meteorologist with weather.com, fire-whirls turn and burn. They are rapidly spinning vortices that form when air — super-heated by an intense wildfire — rises rapidly and is met with a spin from wind.

Fire-whirls have been seen as high as 200 feet tall, and are usually narrow at about two to three feet wide.

According to the Division of Forestry, fire-whirls are often seen during the wildfire season and are being caught on camera more frequently thanks to the advancement in smart phones.

On March 14, 2014, Denver, Colorado, firefighters were conducting a controlled burn when the wind picked up, producing a potentially dangerous situation for firefighters, and it was caught on video by Thomas Rogers with South Metro Fire and Rescue.

Firefighters said that even though it only looked like a whirling smoke storm, the center was actually fire surrounded by smoke and flying tumbleweed. A potentially very dangerous situation they said.

This particular fire-whirl actually crossed the control line, starting a secondary fire.

Firefighters said they quickly gained control of the situation and no one was injured.

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