Firenado lights up the sky in Idaho
Thursday, August 20, 2015, 7:00 PM - A large 'firenado' kicked up ahead of a soda fire in Boise, Idaho Saturday. Video of the event has gone viral, racking up thousands of views.
The photographer who took the video says the firenado shot flames 100 feet into the air and sent dirt and ash raining down to the ground.
"Although the source of energy for a fire whirl is very different than for a tornado - the tornado gets it from storm cloud above, while the fire whirl's energy comes from the fire below - they form in roughly the same way," says Weather Network digital meteorologist Scott Sutherland.
"The atmosphere naturally sets up rolling 'tubes' of air above the ground, as friction slows down the winds closest to the ground, which then introduces a drag on the winds above, pulling them down slightly, and this cascades upward. When these kinds of tubes encounter a powerful updraft, like the ones flowing into the bottom of a thunderstorm or the ones created by the heated air from a roaring fire, the tube turns from horizontal to vertical and the updraft causes it to rotate faster and tighten up into these powerful spinning vortexes."
According to Sutherland,fire whirls can be smaller in nature but they can also strengthen to an EF2 or EF3 tornado.