Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Forest Fire Terror: A Firenado

The Rocky Mountain states aren't the only areas on fire in the United States at the moment. There are some big forest fires going on in Alaska, too.
The big forest fire in Alaska  

Which resulted in the dramatic video in this post. It was taken from a plane flying at an elevation of about 1,900 feet above the fire.

The video shows basically a fire tornado. There are videos out there of these tight whirlwinds of fire in these conflagrations. But this fire whirl is essentially of the same scope and strength of one of those really big tornadoes you see in the Midwest every spring.

Here's a description from the Alaska Department of Forestry's Facebook page:

This footage was taken on August 16, 2013, on the Tetlin Junction Ridge Fire burning in the Tok area. The Alaska Division of Forestry firefighter that captured the footage has never seen anything like it in his 20 years of firefighting. It is the kind of fire behavior you hear about but can't really believe. "A picture probably is worth a thousand words, but there are indeed times when a picture just doesn't do it justice. I've never seen anything like it until now." - Tim Whitesell. Thanks to Tim and the pilot Doug Burts (together serving as an Aerial Supervision Module) for sharing this footage.

The type of fire tornado that you see in this video often are powerful enough to blow down trees before the fire gets to it. I imagine the winds associated with this Alaska fire tornado exceeded 100 mph.

As you can see, this fire was in a very remote area. Can you imagine if a fire tornado like this tore its way into a town?

Here's the vid:

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