Chris Tangey was scouting locations in Australia, and his camera was ready when the whirl, or "fire devil," materialized. A fire whirl occurs when a vortex of flame is created. Put simply, it is basically a tornado made of flames.
Fire whirls are almost never captured on film or in photos. They are most commonly formed during wildfires when warm updraft winds connect with the wildfire. Though they usually expire after a few minutes, they can be deadly.
During an extreme fire whirl, which formed in the aftermath of a 1923 earthquake in Japan, 38,000 people were killed in just 15 minutes. There have also been deaths and serious injuries on a much smaller scale from these fire tornadoes in other locations, including California.
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