Tornadoes are dangerous enough on their own that you don't really need to add things like sharks or fire to them to make them scary, but whereas a 'sharknado' isn't possible (at least not with living, biting sharks), a fire tornado is!
Fire spotters flying the perimeter of the Tetlin Junction Ridge Fire, currently consuming over 20,000 acres of forest in southeastern Alaska, captured footage of what they reported as a 'tornado-strength fire whirl':
According to the description below the YouTube clip, Tim Whitesell, the Air Tactical Supervisor with the Alaska Division of Forestry who recorded the footage, wrote: "a picture probably is worth a thousand words, but there are indeed times when a picture just doesn't do it [the trees being uprooted and blown around] justice. I've never seen anything like it until now."
This 'firenado' was reported to be around 1.2 km wide, and it lasted for about an hour, uprooting trees and tossing them around. You can see this debris being blown about at roughly 1:17 and then again closer to the end of the video.
[ More Geekquinox: Vancouver named one of top cities at risk from rising sea levels ]
Firenadoes (more generally called fire whirls) are fairly common, but they're not often captured on film or in video. They form due to the intense heat of the fire setting up extremely strong circulations of rising air. No wind speeds were estimated for this particular firenado, but some of the strongest ones have reached up to F3 tornado strength, with wind speeds of between 254–332 km/h.
Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!