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Brazilian wildfire spawns fire tornado

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 5:29pm MDT
Fire tornadoes, sometimes called fire whirls or fire devils, are formed when heated air from a fire rises and rotates. This vertical column of air can pull fire into it turning it into an amazing display of nature’s fury.

Fire tornadoes, sometimes called fire whirls or fire devils, are formed when heated air from a fire rises and rotates. This vertical column of air can pull fire into it turning it into an amazing display of nature’s fury. Watch video of one in Brazil below.

Dry conditions, abundant fuel and strong winds create dangerous wildfire conditions. When in the right combination, a rare event – a fire tornado – can occur and one was captured on video in Brazil yesterday.

Coloradoans are not strangers to the dangers of wildfires. A relatively wet winter and summer has allowed us to escape relatively unscathed so far this year. Other parts of the globe however have not been so lucky.

In Russia, fires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres and sent plumes of smoke thousands of miles from western Russia to Siberia. The smoke has been so extensive it can be seen by NASA satellites 22,300 miles above the Earth.

Brazil as well has seen extensive wildfire activity in the last few weeks due to a drought. The brush fires have been fueled by the dry brush and they have devastated open land and destroyed homes.

Videographers filming near the city of Aracatuba in the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo captured a fire tornado yesterday as it tore through a Brazilian field. The rare event results when hot air on the surface rises and is twisted by winds thus pulling the fire vertically.

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