This mass of fire spinning around at 20-plus miles per hour was captured
by Chris Tangey in the Australian Outback last week.
Life’s Little Mysteries (via LiveScience) describes the fire
as 100 feet high and reports that it is better compared to a dust devil
than an actual tornado. It notes New York climatologist Mark Wysocki
saying he would call them “fire vortices” or, if you wanted to jazz that
up a bit, “fire devils.”
Here’s more about their formation, according to Life’s Little Mysteries:
Like the dust devils that spring up on clear, sunny days
in the deserts of the Southwest, a fire devil is birthed when a
disproportionately hot patch of ground sends up a plume of heated air.
But while dust devils find their heat source in the sun, fire devils
arise from hot spots in preexisting wildfires.
“These plumes form in a very small region over the land,” Wysocki
explained. “They start to rise very rapidly, and as things start to
rise, they suck the surrounding air in like a vacuum. Then you get this
twisting that begins to resemble a vortex.”
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