New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Tornados of fire: Examining the fire whirl phenomenon

Date:
November 17, 2014
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Meteorology meets fire science in a recent article exploring the violent whirlwinds that are known to wreak havoc in the nation’s west.
Share:
FULL STORY

Meteorology meets fire science in a recent Weatherwise article exploring the violent whirlwinds that are known to wreak havoc in the nation's west.

Popularly known as "fire devils," "firenadoes," and "fire storms," fire whirls are described as, "Rapidly rotating columns of rising hot air that contain flames, smoke, and combusting debris." Once formed, they take on lives of their own, in what has been called a "dramatic manifestation of atmospheric instability," creating violent whirlwinds in a range of sizes, some of seemingly tornadic strength.

Co-authored by Drs. Bradley M. Muller and Christopher G. Herbster, the article, "Fire Whirls: Twisters That Light the Sky" is featured on the cover of the November/December issue of Weatherwise Magazine.

Dr. Bradly Muller describes his experience during the authors' research of fire whirls near Mt. Lassen, CA earlier this year.

"We were fascinated to observe 40-inch-diameter snapped off trees, sand-blasted bark, and trees wrapped tight by roofing metal," Muller said.

Fire whirls often derive from wildland fires, oil fires, and urban conflagrations. It is their unpredictability and rapidity that makes them so dangerous, making it extremely important in the firefighting community.

This article explores the science behind fire whirls, how they come to be, and how researchers are trying to combat them and improve public safety.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bradley M. Muller, Christopher G. Herbster. Fire Whirls: Twisters That Light the Sky. Weatherwise, 2014; 67 (6): 12 DOI: 10.1080/00431672.2014.960326

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Tornados of fire: Examining the fire whirl phenomenon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117162645.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2014, November 17). Tornados of fire: Examining the fire whirl phenomenon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 21, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117162645.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Tornados of fire: Examining the fire whirl phenomenon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117162645.htm (accessed June 21, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily

RELATED STORIES