By Bobby Pollier, EnStarz | Sep 19, 2012 10:22 AM EDT
Chris Tangey caught a rare sight on his video camera in Curtin Springs, Australia, on Tuesday, Sept. 18: a fire tornado.
After noticing a twister and a nearby torched patch of land, the filmmaker made the decision to take out his video recorder and capture the natural disaster reaching the flames and igniting. The footage shows the dangerous flame-ridden tornado rummaging through the Australian outback brush.
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The phenomenon is said to occur when a fire is caught in a vortex updraft and fire convergence is present. Most of the bigger ones are set off by wild fires and can be between 10-50 meters tall and a couple meters in width.
The flaming whirls also have the strength to uproot trees over 49 feet in height. Although it is unusual for a fire tornado to last more than a few minutes, the one Tangey shot lasted 40 minutes.
An upbeat Tangey spoke to Australia’s News 7 about shooting the rare site to see.
“It was a dance of giants in front of me. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was awe-inspiring. We saw a red tornado, a black one, a white one and then several made of pure fire. It was 50 meters at its base of fire,” he said.
The filmmaker also stated that the fire tornado made a loud noise that sounded similar to a jet engine. The aggressive sound is considered typical of brush fires when they are traveling at speeds over 75 mph.
With certain areas of Australia being extremely dry and known not to receive rain for long periods of time, tornados can thrive. Conditions for the spectacle were said to be more than ideal, as Curtin Springs had not seen any precipitation since April 24. The area was said to be suffering a drought from previous seasons as well.
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