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VIDEO: BC wildfire fighter captures rare ‘fire whirl’ phenomenon

Mother Nature has hit B.C. with a bit of everything over the past month, from snowstorms to a phenomenon known as a "fire whirl".

Captured on video by BC Wildfire fighter Mary Schidlowsky, who described the phenomenon as a "fire tornado", the footage shows a large vortex of fire rising high above the ground.

“Fire tornado destroyed our line. It threw burning logs across our guard for 45 minutes and pulled our hose 100 plus ft in the air before melting it. That’s definitely a first,” wrote Schidlowsky in the Instagram post.

The smoke is too thick to show it, but Schidlowsky said that the column stretches 60 metres into the sky.

According to Fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek, the phenomenon known as a “fire whirl” can occur when high winds interact with a fire.

“When that combines with the rising heat off the fire it can create a kind of eddy and it’s going to pick up some of the combustible gases, some of the smoke, sometimes the debris in the area as well,” he said in an interview.

Skrepnek said it’s not actually a tornado, but more similar to a water spout or dust devil that lasts a few seconds.

“Typically a fire whirl won’t be as large and won’t last as long as what you’re seeing in that clip,” he said.

The video was shot on near Vanderhoof while crews were fighting the Chutanli Lake fire.

With Files from the Canadian Press.

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