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As Megafires Have Become More Common, So Have Fire Tornadoes

Northern California’s Carr Fire spawned a deadly fire tornado with incredibly powerful winds. But what caused its flames to start spinning?

Publish Date: Topic: Planet EarthPlanet EarthNova
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By Ana Aceves

Scientists used to think fire tornadoes were rare, even unlikely, but as megafires become more common, that is no longer the case. Fire tornadoes begin with turbulent, strong winds that send a lopsided current of air into the flames. As the inflow begins to swirl around, the flames themselves become quite organized. Air then streams in faster from the bottom, fanning the flames and strengthening the whirl.

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