Idaho’s “Soda Fire” has been ablaze since August 10, consuming 280,000 acres of land in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. Last week, one of the firefighters on the front lines caught a video of a 100-foot “firenado” swirling upward toward the sky. The scene looks like something out of an apocalyptic film, yet these phenomena aren’t as uncommon as you’d think.
Fire whirls, or fire tornadoes, are sparked by the similar mechanisms behind their larger, more destructive cousins. Closely related to “dust devils,” the flaming cyclones form when hot air rises through a pocket of lower-pressure air and begins rotating. Wildfires provide the source of heat for these whirls, making the scene that much more terrifying. Luckily, these events only last a few minutes, which is partially why Chris Fluer was able to capture it on video.
The Soda Fire was 95 percent contained by Wednesday morning, and a 700-person response team has been acting quickly and tirelessly to save the area. So far, no human lives have been lost, yet dozens of wild horses and other livestock have succumb to the flames. Hopefully this wildfire is in its own death throes and response teams will be able to move on to the next threat.
Images via Instagram