Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fire Tornadoes in California! 5/15/2014

It's not every day you see a swirling mass of fire spinning violently up from the ground but today was the day in California! As the unusual wildfire storms just north of San Diego, this spectacular and extremely dangerous situation was caught on tape! 
This video was taken in San Marco, CA. Although fire season is usually later in the year, the extensive and extreme drought the state has been suffering though has resulted in an extremely early fire season. As seen below in the US Drought Monitor, the whole state is in extreme to exceptional drought conditions. 
With extreme drought like this, fire season is going to be long and damaging! 

Now what is a fire tornado? Also known as a fire whirl, fire devils and firenadoes. These small vortexes form within wildfires when extreme heat combine with strong winds to produce eddies that carry flames into the air like a small tornado. Most fire tornadoes are one to three feet wide, reaching up to 100 feet tall. However, there have been occurrences when the whirlwinds have gotten up to a 1,000 feet wide! Since the fire whirl is formed from the extreme heat of a small area, temperatures become a factor in these micro storms. Inside the core of the fire tornado, temperatures can reach an incredible 2,000 degrees F!