Northern California Firefighters battling the Loyalton wildfire found themselves staring at another threat to their lives, a towering Pyrocumulonimbus Fire tornado made up of swirling flames, smoke, and ash.
The rare and fiery tornado was spotted Saturday after the National Weather Service Office issued a tornado warning for a pyrocumulonimbus cloud that formed by the Loyalton Wildfire, saying it was “capable of producing a fire-induced tornado and outflow winds in excess of 60 mph,” CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
The Loyalton fire has burned more than 20,000 acres, as hot and dry conditions continue.
Firefighters from Nevada were called in to assist fire teams on the California side of the border and were forced to dodge flames in their trucks.
Many areas of the state saw extremely high temperatures through the weekend, with decade-high levels of ozone pollution in some areas.
What Is a Pyrocumulonimbus Fire Tornado and How Do They Form?
According to the Weather Guys
A pyrocumulus cloud forms from rising air that results from intense heating of the surface by phenomena such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions. The fires that generate these clouds can be man-made or natural. A big fire produces strong upward moving air currents that carry water vapor and ash upward. The water vapor can condense on the ash forming cloud drops. The vigorous upward motions produce these pyrocumulus clouds that look similar to thunderstorm clouds, which also form due to strong upward moving air.