Idaho ‘firenado’ shoots flames and ash 100 feet into the air


Firenado develops during the raging Soda Fire.

An Idaho firefighter helping to control the Soda Fire in Boise last Saturday paused to videotape a towering tornado of smoke and flames. These rare events are sometimes referred to as firenados, or firewhirls.

Craig Fluer referred to the ominous spinning column as a firewhirl, and posted his footage to Instagram with a brief description: "This sucker was shooting flames 100 ft in the air before it passed right in front of the line, all while dropping hot dirt and ash on our helmets."

A video posted by Craig Fluer (@craigfluer) on

The footage began to circulate via mainstream media Wednesday.

Firenados, or firewhirls, are created by a mixture of rising heat and turbulent winds within wildfires.

The Weather Channel's description: "They are rapidly spinning vortexes that form when air superheated by an intense wildfire rises rapidly, consolidating low-level spin from winds converging into the fire and spinning like an ice skater, pulling its arms inward."

The firenado videotaped by Fluer appears to have been comprised mostly of smoke and ash, but probably contained fire at its core.

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