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Video: Dust devil strikes during controlled burn at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 1:43pm MDT

A prescribed burn at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal quickly got out of control when swirling winds struck.Performing prescribed burns is an important way to clear brush and renew wildland and are often done without any excitement. Mother Nature had other plans last week however as whirling winds propelled a fire beyond its containment lines at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

The amazing video of the event on March 14 was taken by a firefighter from South Metro Fire and showcases how quickly weather conditions can change and how even when well-planned, fires can quickly get out of control.

The fire is seen burning through the grasslands of the refuge when swirling wind develops – a common phenomenon caused by the heat quickly rising from the fire. Soon the fire begins to rage and tumbleweeds and burning debris are sent flying in a circular path.

Thomas Rogers, the man behind the camera, said on YouTube the fire burned an additional acre as crews backed off to gain the upper hand.

Refuge Manager David Lucas said on Facebook, “What we saw and how we reacted is exactly what we want out of our fire crews — well planned with plenty of on-site resources to manage contingencies, safety first, and well trained folks who got after it quickly.”

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