Is it a firewhirl or is it a tornado?

Blog Post created by hyltonhaynes Employee on Aug 21, 2013

A recent Australian filmography demostrates and discusses a very scary fire behavior phenomenon  known as the fire tornado.  Wildland firefighters talk about 'watch out' situations when firewhirls are present on the fireline, but the phenomenon described in this video clip is unprecedented in its fire behavior, magnitude and the destruction it caused on January 8, 2003 in Canberra - it is more akin to a literal 'fire tornado'.

Image 1: New research released in 2013 showed that the fire tornado formed from a pyrocumulonimbus cloud.  This type of cloud typically forms above a source of heat like a wildfire and is the precursor to some very unpredictable fire behavior.