Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Fire devil' tornado blazes in Brazil

Tom Bonnett in the Herald Sun (Australia) via Sky News: A fire tornado caused by brush fires and strong winds stopped motorway traffic as drivers in Brazil gawped at the rare phenomenon. The whirlwind of flames burned through fields beside the road in the northwest city of Aracatuba in Sao Paulo state, Sky News said.

But, as quickly as it appeared, the roaring twister fizzled down and just a smouldering line in the land remained. The firestorm followed a drought which has led to brush fires across Brazil.

It has been three months since it last rained in the region and Sao Paulo state is already suffering from high pollution levels. Humidity levels have also soared with Globo TV reporting they were similar to those in the Sahara desert. As a precaution, state authorities have forbidden farmers from burning sugar cane field waste, a typical after-harvest activity.

In the most remote areas municipalities with few resources have been unable to contain fires. Fire tornados, also known as fire whirls or fire devils, are rare and depend on certain air temperatures and currents to create a vertical, rotating column of air….

Image is a generic shot, a firestorm on the Mirror Plateau in Yellowstone National Park, by Jim Peaco

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