Firefighters in England recently witnessed a firenado, which is created by a combination of intense heat and turbulent air. The rare sight looks like something out of a movie, but it is, in fact, real. It's also known as a fire whirl, a fire devil, a fire swirl, or a fire twister.
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They typically start with wind and smoke, and when intense heat rises it creates a vortex that sucks in burning debris and combustible gases. While they are usually called firenadoes, they differ from their namesake in that their vortex rarely extends from the surface to the cloud base.
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Firenadoes consist of an enflamed core and whirling air pocket and can reach temperatures up to 2,000 °F, or 1,090 °C. They usually come from wildfires and are generally tall, from 10 to 50 meters high, and skinny, just a few meters wide. Most last only a few minutes, but if the winds go over 160 km/h, they can persist for up to, and occasionally longer than, 20 minutes.
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The firenado in England is the most recent sighting. Giant plumes of smoke from a plastics factory were visible from up to 25 miles away, causing firefighters from three different districts to work together. One of the teams was even able to capture the firenado on film, and the footage has gone viral. This isn't the first time this type of phenomenon has occurred.
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There have been instances of firenadoes in Tokyo, California, New Zealand, and Australia. While amazing, they're also incredibly dangerous, so anyone who comes in contact with one should take extreme caution. Check out the Derbyshire firenado below...