Welcome back to wacky weather Wednesday! Today we will be talking about the fire whirl. What is a fire whirl? A fire whirl, also commonly known as a fire devil, is a whirlwind induced by a fire and is often composed of flames, ash, smoke, and any other smaller material. Fire whirls occur when intense rising heat and turbulent wind conditions combine to form whirling eddies of air. These eddies can contract a tornado-like vortex that sucks in debris and combustible gases. Fire whirls are technically not tornadoes since their vorticity derives from the temperature-induced lifting and surface winds instead of the tornadic mesocyclone aloft. Most of the largest fire whirls are spawned from wildfires. They form when a warm updraft and convergence from the wildfire are present. They are usually 10–50 m tall, a few meters wide, and last only a few minutes. Some, however, can contain wind speeds over 120 mph and persist for more than 20 minutes. Did you know that fire whirls have a bunch of different names? Such as a fire tornado, firenado, fire swirl, or fire twister. See you all back here on Friday!
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