Firenado appears in California bush fires
A fearsome firenado swept through southern California on Wednesday.
Wildfires in the Californian city of San Diego has forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.
So far, fires have destroyed at least 20 homes as fire fighters concentrated their efforts on the hillsides of the San Marcos area.
As fire fighting efforts has taken place in temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius and high winds, local news outlet Fox 6 reported that the firernado appeared around noon in the San Marcos area.
As the skies blackened, a column of swirling smoke and flames appeared.
Dramatic videos are emerging from the site.
Just how did this phenomena occur?
Apparently these scary things are more closely related to the water spouts that we are more familiar with as online news site Vox explains.
Generally, they start when strong winds are already present near an especially hot wildfire. The fire generates big differences in air temperature over a short distance, and because hot air is much less dense than cold air, cooler air gets sucked in to the hotter areas. This can mean that different wind currents are flowing in different directions, causing a whirling eddy of air to form, which spins faster as it moves upward.
If this eddy comes in contact with the fire, it can burst into the flames in a few different ways.
Most often, the cyclone sucks carbon-rich gases, produced by burning plants, upward. At ground level, these gases might not come into contact with enough oxygen (needed to fuel a fire) to burn, but once they're aloft, they mix with fresh oxygen and start burning suddenly.
Once this happens, the extreme temperatures of a fire tornado (as high as 2,000°F) can be hot enough to re-ignite ash that's been sucked up from the ground — and mixed with fresh, oxygenated air — as well.
2,000°F is 1000 degrees Celsius by the way.
So yeah, nature shows that she can be as scary (if not scarier) than anything that Hollywood can throw up.
Source: Fox 6 news, AFP, Vox