Video shared by the National Weather Service shows a large “fire whirl,” or fire tornado, during Northern California’s Tennant Fire in late June.
The apocalyptic scene, recorded by the U.S. Forest Service June 29, shows a large column of flames and smoke spinning not far from several bulldozers and trucks.
According to the Forest Service, a fire whirl is a “spinning vortex column of ascending hot air and gases rising from a fire and carrying aloft smoke, debris, and flame.”
Fire whirls can vary in size from just a few inches to more than 500 feet in diameter.
The Tennant Fire broke out June 28 near Mount Shasta in the Klamath National Forest and had burned 10,614 acres as of Wednesday, when when it was listed as 71% contained.
The National Weather Service tweeted that the fire whirl was likely the vortex that radar picked up on the 29th.
Another fire burning in the area, the Lava Fire, formed a pyrocumulus cloud visible in the clear blue sky at an estimated 30,000 feet tall, roughly twice the height of nearby Mount Shasta, according to KRON.