Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Fire tornado caught on film in Brazil, want to make your own? (VIDEO)

(Read article summary)
View video

Screengrab via YouTube

(Read caption) A rare fire tornado is seen in Brazil on Aug. 25.

View photo

A rare fire tornado appeared in the Brazilian municipality of Aracatuba on Wednesday, bringing traffic to a halt on a nearby highway and burning thousands of acres.

The vortex of fire resulted from months of drought in the region, combined with brush fires and strong, dry winds.

About these ads

Though a rare phenomenon, the formation of a fire tornado, or fire whirl, is quite simple.

Recommended:Job hunting? How about becoming a tornado chaser?

When there is a warm updraft of air and convergence of fire, say from a wildfire, a vortex of flame can occur. As the heated air from the fire rises, strong air currents cause flame to spin, shaping it into a tornado.

IN PICTURES: Tornadoes

In Colorado last week, a fire tornado spewed embers that ignited fields in all directions, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman said.

But crews in Brazil have contained the fire and may monitor the site of the blaze overnight. "More turbulent weather capable of producing lightning was expected in the region covered in dry, late-summer brush," according to the BLM.

Authorities in Sao Paulo state have also forbidden farmers from burning sugar cane field waste, usually done after harvest.

Want to make your own fire tornado?

About these ads

Steve Spangler Science, whose mission is "Making Science Fun!" includes Fire Tornadoes as one of its home science experiments.

Yes, adult supervision is required. Even if you're an adult yourself, we might recommend an extra side of adult supervision on this one. Get your fire extinguisher ready.

We won't give away how your homemade fire tornado works here, check out the experiment.

IN PICTURES: Tornadoes