A viral video has surfaced on TikTok recently showing a terrifying fire tornado in California. The footage was uploaded by used @flamecatcher2 (above) and viewed over 3 million times in just a few days. It is unclear where the video was taken and what fire it is showing.
Fire tornadoes, otherwise known as “firenados,” have been seen all too frequently throughout Northern California in recent years, with the most destructive fires like the Carr Fire and Camp Fire producing the natural phenomenon. A tornado full of fire is created when heat sucks out all the moisture out of plants and brush, and when the triple degree heat of the afternoon creates an unstable atmosphere above the fire plume.
Here’s a video of the firenado at the Carr Fire:
So think about it this way: when the fire sucks the oxygen out of the dry plants, the force of that suction create gusts of winds. When the fire gets so intense, the winds pick up around the flames, creating a self-sustaining tornado of flames and destruction. The winds of the Carr Fire were reported to have reached 143 mph.
We’ve already seen multiple occurrences this season of fire plumes becoming so strong that they develop their own weather systems, like the Hog Fire and Loyalton Fire. This year’s wildfires are exceptionally big and dangerous in an unprecedented way. Stay safe, California.