A Missouri woman captured this incredible photo of a phenomenon that has been dubbed a "firenado" while she was driving down a country road near the town of Chillicothe last weekend.
"This had to be the coolest/scariest thing I've ever seen," Janae Copelin wrote on her Instagram page. "A farmer burning off his field and as we stopped so I could take a picture the wind whipped up this fire twister."
According to The Weather Channel, sights like this are more common than you might think:
Firewhirls turn and burn. They are rapidly spinning vortices that form when air superheated by an intense wildfire rises rapidly, consolidating low-level spin from winds converging into the fire like a spinning ice skater, pulling its arms inward.
The typical firewhirl can grow to about 100 feet tall, but is very narrow, on the order of a couple of feet wide.
Researchers in Australia documented the process of "pyro-tornadogenesis" for the first time after analyzing evidence collected during a wildfire in Canberra in January, 2003.
First published May 8 2014, 6:36 AM
David Arnott is a multimedia producer in NBC News' international bureau in London. He started this role in January of 2011. He reports to James Collins, director of photography.
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Arnott joined NBC News from Panos Pictures, where he was editor. In that role, he was responsible for editing and marketing the work of a roster of international photojournalists. Prior to his work there, Arnott studied film, video and photography at the University of Westminster.