If you haven’t seen it already, check out this fire tornado – also called a fire whirl or fire devil – first published on YouTube on September 16, 2012 and becoming much more widely reported today. An Alice Springs filmmaker captured it, while filming in the Australian outback. It has over 1 million views on YouTube now, and deservedly so. Biblical!
Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television was scouting locations near Curtin Springs station in Australia – which apparently is a working cattle station and roadhouse – east of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. He spotted a small fire was burning in nearby bushland and decided to start filming, when he saw a whirlwind touch down into the fire. He told the Northern Territory News in Australia:
It sounded like a jet fighter going by, yet there wasn’t a breath of wind where we were.
I had my doubts about this video when I first saw it, but apparently it’s the real deal. Wikipedia has an entry on fire tornados – with more pictures – here. They are a natural phenomenon – akin to a waterspout over the ocean, or what we in Texas call a dust devil. They happen, but catching one on video is rare.
Thank you to EarthSky Facebook friend Anna Garden for pointing out this video!
Bottom line: Video of fire tornado, captured by Australian filmmaker Chris Tangey and posted to YouTube on September 16, 2012.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.