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Not a thing you want to stand next to when it happens. See the close-up video.

Video: Dust devil hurls burning debris at firefighters

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, March 22, 2014, 10:04 AM -

What was supposed to be a prescribed burn nearly turned into an actual towering inferno for the group of Colorado firefighters in the video above.

A dust devil rolled into the area while the firefighters were doing their work, sweeping up burning tumbleweeds and smoke and forcing them to flee to a safe distance, where firefighter Thomas Rogers continued filming.

"There's nothing you can do except get out of the way and wait for it to calm down," he told Colorado's 9News channel.

RELATED: Six kinds of freaky severe weather.

Rogers posted a longer cut of it on his YouTube channel, with a metal soundtrack that does not at all seem out of place.

Dust devils are usually weak, formed when rising warm air encounters wind sheer. They typically don't reach the intensity of a tornado, but when they pass over fires, they can suck the flames and burning debris upward as well, giving the appearance of a fire tornado.

They can be quite large and powerful, like this one captured in the Australian Outback in 2012:

The thing to remember about the one in the top video, which was filmed on March 14, is that it was a prescribed burn, meaning it was under control by firefighters the entire time, right up until that dust devil swept in.

Goes to show that even when firefighters are completely on top of a situation, there's still the potential of an unforseen development causing things to rapidly worsen.

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