100-Foot "Firenado" in Australian Brushfire

September 26, 2012; 4:54 AM
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Nature's not much for subtlety. Just ask Chris Tangey, the man who watched in awe as a 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) whirlwind of fire tore around a patch of Australian Outback on Tuesday (Sept. 11).

Filmmaker Chris Tangey captured rare video footage, a still of which is seen here, of a "fire devil" in the Australian Outback. CREDIT: Chris Tangey via Youtube user stilltalkincrazy

Tangey, a filmmaker, managed to capture some very rare footage of the startling phenomenon while out scouting locations near Alice Springs, Australia, according to The Australian.

One term for the event he recorded, a fire tornado, is a misnomer, according to Mark Wysocki, New York's state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. The columns of spinning fire are much more similar to dust devils than tornadoes, Wysocki said.

"I would just call them fire vortices but that doesn't sound so sexy to the public, so I would call them fire devils," he told Life's Little Mysteries.

See the video live here.

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