And Now, Fire Tornadoes! Brought to You by 2020 and the People Who Make California Wildfires

It was bound to happen. 2020 has been a dumpster fire of epic proportions, so it only makes sense that said fire would eventually rise to form a fucking tornado. Wait, what? Yes, because this is 2020 and everything hurts and nothing matters, it only makes sense that August would bear witness to mother fucking fire tornadoes. It sounds a TV movie made for the SyFy channel, but it’s a real thing and it happened in California.

As the wildfires in Northern California continue to burn thousands of acres, an extremely rare phenomena occurred that should be surprising, but it’s 2020 and nothing surprises us anymore.

The National Weather Service in California recently reported that they had received numerous calls about so-called “fire tornadoes,” which sounds terrifying but also awesome. It also sounds impossible, but the Weather Service insisted such a thing can actually happen, given the right circumstances. As it turns out, California had the right circumstances.

Ben Gelber, a meteorologist with WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, said that multiple components need to come together in order for fire tornadoes to form. These components include: turbulent winds, uneven terrain and extreme heat (such as fire) that causes the air to rapidly rise.

“It’s applying our traditional knowledge of tornadoes to a rare phenomenon,” Gelber said. “It’s so unusual, it’s a little difficult to wrap our heads around. Of course, the towering clouds created by fires, we’ve all seen that. But the tornadic feature or multiple fire whirls, that’s just incredible.”

It is incredible. As of yet, nobody has actually died because of a fire tornado, but what a way to go that would be. What’s next, cows emerging from the ocean?

Cover Photo: Katelyn Hewlett, via Reuters

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