|The fire around Middletown, California looms over this highway|
Saturday as it rapidly spreads.
Of course, the worst part is it killed one person and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in just hours.
Another odd aspect of this fire is how fast ir spread.
At 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday, the fire had just covered about 400 acres - not that huge by western standards.
By 6:30 p.m. it had consumed 10,000 acres and by 10:30 p.m. it had covered 25,000 acres.
It was windy and hot and dry that day, so a fire would spread fast. But experts say it was odd that the fire spread that fast.
According to a Wunderground blog by Dr. Jeff Masters, such extreme fire behavior is a result of the nearly unprecedented multi-year drought in the area.
Also, fires sometimes create their own weather, and there were "heat bursts" in the area, as convection, possibly related to the fire, caused strong winds that spread the flames.
The drought is so intense that practically every ember that landed ahead of the main fire started a new one.
People who had to evacuate had to do so hastily, with no time to collect belongings. As you see in the video below, many had narrow escapes.
It's a miracle that none of the burning trees you'll see in the video fell on the road, blocking the escape for the people in the car. Or worse, waves of flames or burning trees could have fallen right o the car. Yikes
Since droughts are becoming more likely as a result of climate change, these kinds of extreme fires will probably be more and more common in the future.
Here's the scary video: