From: Los Angeles Times
hile crews continue to battle raging wildfires in San Diego County, many on social media have been highlighting the tornado-like flaming vortexes captured in photos from the front lines.
Known in the science community as a fire whirl, on social media they've become popularly known as "fire tornado" and "firenado." But a host of studies over the years have shown fire whirls are nothing new. In fact, the phenomena have been documented, and feared, for more than 100 years, according to a 2012 article in the Journal of Combustion.
A fire whirl during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 threw burning planks of wood more than 600 yards ahead of the main blaze, helping the fire’s spread. That same day in Wisconsin, two people were killed when a fire whirl lifted their home off its foundation and dropped it 50 yards away, according an article published in the journal. MORE