Fire whirl recorded on video in the UK

Fire Whirl
Fire Whirl — Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service

I don’t often associate extreme wildland fire behavior with the United Kingdom, but firefighters with the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service grabbed some video of this impressive fire whirl near Swadlincote, a town in Derbyshire, England.

Fire Whirl

Fire Whirl
Fire Whirl — Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service

We have written about similar phenomenons several times on Wildfire Today. Here is an excerpt from a 2016 article, “Defining fire whirls and fire tornados”:


The news media sometimes calls any little fire whirl a ā€œfire tornado, or even a ā€œfirenadoā€. We found out today that these and related terms (except for ā€œfirenadoā€) were, if not founded, at leastĀ documented and defined in 1978Ā by a researcher for the National Weather Service in Missoula, David W. Goens. He grouped fire whirls into four classes:

  1. Fire Devils. They are a natural part of fire turbulenceĀ with little influence on fire behavior or spread. TheyĀ are usually on the order of 3 to 33 feet in diameter andĀ have rotational velocities less than 22 MPH.
  2. Fire Whirls. A meld of the fire, topograph, and meteorological factors. These play a significant role in fire spread and hazard to control personnel. The average sizeĀ of this class is usually 33 to 100 feet, with rotationalĀ velocities of 22 to 67 MPH.
  3. Fire Tornadoes. These systems begin to dominate the large scaleĀ fire dynamics. They lead to extreme hazard andĀ control problems. In size, they average 100 to 1,000 feetĀ in diameter and have rotational velocities up to 90 MPH.
  4. Fire Storm. Fire behavior is extremely violent. DiametersĀ have been observed to be from 1,000 to 10,000 feet andĀ winds estimated in excess of 110 MPH. This is a rare phenomenonĀ and hopefully one that is so unlikely in theĀ forest environment that it can be disregarded.”

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+

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