A gigantic whirlwind of flames that wrap around each other: this phenomenon, often depicted in, actually exists. The tornadoes of are even quite common in fires, whether forest fires, brush fires and even fires in human facilities, such as factories or gas stations. The “firenado”, a contraction of fire (fire) and tornado (tornado) is similar to , these famous dust devils that regularly form in the desert regions of the USA and the Sahara, sometimes also in the south of France. We are used to calling them “fire tornadoes” even though they are not, strictly speaking, fire tornadoes. (because a tornado forms under a thunderstorm), but rather whirlwinds.
Classic dust devils form most commonly in dry, sandy regions:unstable rotates and lifts dust or sand from the ground. Their formation depends on the warming of the soil and the currents: fire generates its own winds. In the event of a fire, the air near the ground is obviously overheated. These whirlwinds therefore tend to form easily in this context: fire tornadoes are in fact who encounter fires, and take their source from in the intense air near the blaze. Some whirlwinds come in the form of smoke tornadoes close to fires, while others directly encounter the flames and become real fire tornadoes.
The formation of a fire tornado in Australia in 2013. © Chris Tangey
Up to 2,000°C inside the tourbillon
Some whirlwinds of smoke and fire can also reach several hundred meters in height with a temperature of 1,500 to 2,000 ° C inside. The most impressive were filmed during theand D’ in recent years, especially in softwood forests. Some rangers have even reported seeing fire tornadoes reaching 1 to 4 kilometers in height!
Fire tornadoes can therefore stretch for tens of meters, or take the form of a tiny whirlpool of less than a meter. The larger the whirlpool, the more dangerous it is, as it is capable of sending flaming debris hundreds of meters away, and in all directions, as it spins at great speed.. This flaming debris is in turn capable of triggering other .
These fire tornadoes are often very short-lived, a few seconds to a few minutes, but it has happened that some last 20 minutes. Like dust devils and real thunderstorm tornadoes, they can travel a few hundred meters or more. It also happens that several fire tornadoes form at the same time, giving rise to a truly apocalyptic-looking scene that has nothing to envy to the.
A ‘firenado’ was caught on camera during a raging bushfire near Southampton in Western Australia last week. The fire reportedly burned through more than 8,100 acres before firefighters were finally able to contain it. No injuries were reported. pic.twitter.com/XfhSktO40r
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) February 25, 2019