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Huge Fire Burning in California and Nevada Creating ‘Fire Whirls’

A massive fire that is burning in California and Nevada is creating “fire whirls” as fire crews continue to battle the flames.

The York Fire that started in California’s Mojave National Preserve on Friday is more than 80,000 acres wide and crossed into Nevada on Sunday. The Mojave National Preserve said that the fire was about 23 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

The Mojave National Preserve also noted in a Saturday Facebook post that fire crews were battling fire whirls, which it said is a “vortex of flames and smoke that forms when intense heat and turbulent winds combine, creating a spinning column of fire.” The preserve added that fire whirls, also known as fire tornados, are “extremely dangerous” for firefighters due to their size and ability to change direction quickly.

“In some locations, firefighters on the north side of the fire observed fire whirls also known as whirlwinds,” the Mojave National Preserve wrote in its post. “While these can be fascinating to observe they are a very dangerous natural phenomena that can occur during wildfires.”

“These fire whirls are similar to dust devils but are specifically associated with the heat and energy released by a wildfire,” the post continued. “They can range in size from a few feet to several hundred feet in height, and their rotational speed can vary widely.”

According to an incident update posted Tuesday, high winds in the area can lead to increased fire activity as firefighters attempt to build and reinforce a containment line. As of Tuesday, there were no evacuation orders in place.

“These types of winds can cause the fire to spread more rapidly and unpredictably which can have an effect on fire spreading behavior causing the fire to advance,” the incident report states. “Currently the fire is backing down Crescent Peak away from the Nevada Border.”

Source : The Hill