Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dust devil and brush fire combined to form 'Firenado'

A 150 acre, prescribed burn near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, in the Denver Metropolitan Area in Commerce City, Colorado, grew out of control when a massive dust devil swept fire and tumble weeds in the firefighters direction. The prescribed burn happened at around noon on Friday, March 14.

Video captures the moment the dust devil began and shows hundreds of tumble weeds catching fire before several firefighters run for safety. From a safe distance, the filming resumes. The unexpected dust devil ended up burning an extra acre of land but no property was damaged and no one was injured.

Volume/death thrash/metal warning.

YouTube link.

Thomas Rogers, a firefighter with South Metro Fire & Rescue, is the man behind the camera. In the seven years he has spent fighting flames he has never seen anything quite like this. “It was definitely interesting to see. I’m a fire buff as well as a weather buff and here I had a weather event and a fire event coming together and it was just really amazing to watch,” Rogers said. “There’s nothing you can do except get out of the way and wait for it to calm down.”

What began completely in their control ended up serving as a reminder that fires can be incredible unpredictable. “Fire can change at any time,” explains Rogers, “even on a prescribed burn, where we’re in very controlled conditions, the unexpected can happen.” Rogers wants to remind others about how dangerous even controlled burns can be, saying these things can happen any time of the year, not just fire season. “Any time there’s heating, unstable atmosphere, high winds, the fire dangers can be very high with winds probably being the biggest component.”

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