Fire whirls at Burning Man

Kevin sent us a link to a very interesting video that was shot at Burning Man. It shows fire whirls and dust devils that, according to the Reno-Gazette Journal, appeared “as the Catacomb of Veils art installation [was] set on fire Friday, Sept. 2, 2016”. We can’t embed it, but you can check it out at the RGJ. The dust devils formed downwind of the intense fire, consistently and repeatedly. They form, move with the wind, dissipate, and then are replaced.

That piqued our interest so we looked around on YouTube to see if there were any more, and there’s a boat load of them. They have been occurring for years at Burning Man. Check them out HERE.

The image below is a screenshot from the video that follows it.

Burning  Man Fire Whirls
Screen shot from the video by r. E V O L U T I O N Art

Our definitive article about fire whirls, dust devils, and fire tornadoes.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Kevin.

Typos, let us know HERE. And, please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

6 thoughts on “Fire whirls at Burning Man”

  1. High air temperature (Above 90 degrees) and an inversion layer at about 100 feet above flamming front will create a significant fire tornado. I have experienced this condition on both wild fire as well as Rx burns.
    Scott Franklin LA County Fire 1955-1991

  2. This from personal experience. On Rx burns, we used weather data, site specific as well as weather balloons to determine inversion layer.

  3. I was there, and an interesting thing I observed on that burn, and other art burns, was that each whirl rotated in the opposite direction of the one previous. It is a very neat thing to watch.

  4. I’m disappointed in the sloppy use of terms by RGJ.

    What is seen in the vid are not tornadoes or fire anything. What is seen are short lived dust devils spawned by the convection off the man made art/trash fire.

    If sufficient vegetation in a dry condition was present in their path they could be Fire Whirls and they could be self perpetuating to one degree or another.

    Off topic… Friday (9 Sept) I finished a 11 day motorcycle ride by riding from Alturas, CA thru Gerlach, NV to Fernley, NV and on to home. The amount of litter that fell and blew off of home-bound “Burner vehicles” along NV Hwy 447 is profound and disgusting. I know from previous years that Interstate 80 east and west from Fernley is likely more littered than NV 447. Personal observation; I 80 eastbound from Fernley to Lovelock looked like a yard sale after Burning Man 2015.

    I also know from previous years Nevada DOT (NDOT) workers and more so Nevada Department of Forestry (NDF) Inmate Firefighters will be out there, exposed to high speed traffic, cleaning up this Burner Trash for weeks.

    If RGJ was really on the ball it would report Burning Man as the single most highway litter producing event in Northern Nevada.

    1. Greenfire, come to Texas and experience one weekend at the National Recreation Area (NPS) where I work. I’m sure the Burners don’t have a drop in the hat on the litter(trash) that Texans see as a way of life.

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