Information About a Fire Tornado

ScienceStruck Staff Oct 30, 2018
A fire tornado, also called a fire twister or firenado, is closely related to whirlwinds.
Fire tornados are formed when hot air and convergence are present. Under such circumstances, fire obtains vertical vorticity and forms a funnel or whirl. This fire tornado sweeps about 10 feet wide, very much like a wind tornado.
To explain how perilous a fire tornado is, we would need to go back a little in time. It was in 1923 that an earthquake occurred in Great Kanto, Japan. It was this earthquake that ignited a large city-sized firestorm that in turn produced a fire tornado. Unfortunately, it took this tornado only 15 minutes to kill 38,000 people in an area in Tokyo.
It was in California; just three years later that lightening struck an oil storage facility near San Luis Obispo. As the flame roared, it formed several small tornadoes that caused major structural damage to the facility, and killed 2 people.
It was during the four-day firestorm that thousands of whirlwinds, tornadoes, and firestorms formed and carried debris as far as three miles away. Fire tornadoes were in the news recently too, when one was produced in South America causing major damage to Brazil and killing many people.

How do fire tornadoes take shape?

Wildfires are the starting point of most tornadoes. Tornadoes are usually present around 30 to 200 feet tall, though there have been reports of some of them being over a mile high and ten feet wide. Usually, fire tornadoes do not last for more than a few minutes, though there have been exceptions to the rule with some going on for more than 20 minutes.

What do they look like?

A wind tornado is much like a fire tornado, only it is made of fire instead of wind. The flames look like a volcanic eruption with them forming like lava flow. They vary in colors from ash and gray to flame red and orange.

Do fire tornadoes disperse?

Yes, fire tornadoes do jump, which increases the possibility of causing more wildfires to sprout.