A fire tornado has hit the Outback of Australia in recent days, creating an amazing sight as it tore through the brush near Alice Springs.
North America has had to deal with its deadly wildfire season, as well as a devastating tornado season, often creating amazing yet destructive images. Australia also has its fair share of bushfires that often devastate its wild lands. However, a rare fire tornado was also caught in video footage in recent days, adding to the dramatic and devastating conditions.
The fire tornado in this case was seen tearing through the Outback for as long as 40 minutes, sending anyone nearby running for cover.
Fire tornadoes, which are also sometimes called fire devils, are rare and occur when heated air from a bush fire rises and rotates. The column of air pulls the fire into it and draws it upwards, offering a spectacular sight.
The recent fire tornado was caught by filmmaker Chris Tangey. It has been reported that he was searching out locations for a new film near Alice Springs, and was taking some footage of a nearby brushfire. However, suddenly the fire shot upwards, creating a fierce fire tornado less than 300 meters away from him.
Tangey has reported that the fire tornado reached up to 100 foot in the air. According to 7News, Tangey reported, "There was no wind but the tornado sounded just like a fighter jet. My jaw just dropped."
The fire tornado lasted 40 minutes, which is relatively long compared to other occurrences of this phenomena. In previous incidences of fire tornadoes some have been recorded as being up to half a mile wide, and have produced powerful winds of up to 100 mph.
Fire tornadoes can be hugely devastating. In 1923 Japan experienced one of its worst tragedies in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. In that tragedy the quake created a reported fire tornado 300 feet in height. It has been recorded that approximately 44,000 people had fled to a nearby river for refuge when the fire tornado hit. Out of those 44,000 only about 300 survived as fires converged to form the mass hell-raiser.