5 years ago

How a 'firenado' forms

Fact Filer
This is a "firenado," or fire tornado. It formed out of wildfires in Arganil, Portugal. Firenados are swirling columns of fire, but they aren't really tornados. Tornados result from conditions high in the atmosphere. Firenados form because of conditions on the ground. Hot, dry air rises rapidly and forms a column. That column of air begins to swirl. As it gains speed, it picks up flaming embers and debris. Then it becomes a blazing tower of fire.

Firenados are similar to dust devils, but with fire instead of dust. They can reach temperatures of 2000°F and be hundreds of feet tall. They normally only last a few minutes, but that's enough time to cause serious damage and endanger lives.

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